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Mashup competition a first for Bay

Wednesday, 2 February 2011 12:00 a.m.

Take two or more public data sets, mash them together and you have a new information service. That's what Bay of Plenty secondary school students will be putting their minds to in late March this year with the support and guidance of some the region's top IT personnel.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is organising this innovative competition for secondary students who will compete to produce Mashups.  These will provide greater access and usability for data that is already publicly available but perhaps not being used to its greatest capacity. Imagine a site for families that combined Google maps and the information on the region's best swimming spots - this would be a useful Mashup. You'd be able to get directions, see photos and videos, get the current water condition and see other attractions in the area. New Mashups are hitting the Internet every day with more than 5000 now populating the web internationally.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman John Cronin said that this competition was the first of its kind in New Zealand, where secondary students will create Mashups while working under time constraints and produce a business plan and design concept before creating the finished product.

"The students will have a pool of expert IT people on hand to help them through any technical difficulties," Chairman Cronin said. "We're very grateful for the contributions these experts are making and acknowledge their commitment to open source access for all users and more open information."

Chairman Cronin said that early responses from some secondary school teachers had been very enthusiastic so far and he was looking forward to seeing entries from the region's 22 secondary schools. "This will be a great challenge for the competing teams and an opportunity to win some of the $2000 in prize money," he says.

The Bay of Plenty Polytech will provide its Bongard Centre Campus in Tauranga as the venue for the weekend competition, which will be held on 26 March and 27 March 2011. The Polytech's Information Technology Group Leader Karen Phillips said Bay of Plenty Polytechnic was delighted to be sponsoring this event.

"This competition is a fantastic opportunity for those smart college students to work alongside the local IT industry, demonstrate their skills and really use their initiative," Mrs Phillips said.

"The sort of young people who participate in events like this are exactly the ones we hope to attract to our Diplomas in applied Computing level 5 and level 6 and on to the University of Waikato BSc In Computer Science.  This will help maintain Tauranga's increasingly important place in the IT industry."

Competition organisers will be sending more information to schools early in 2011 so that they can advise the students and register their teams.


Contact Miles McConway (Group Manager Information Technology and Economic Development, Bay of Plenty Regional Council) for more information 021687541


Background information on Mashups


The YouTube clip "What is a mashup? - ZDNet" has a good basic description of the Mashup process while "7 Cool "Mashup" Websites - What Are Mashup Websites?" shows the process in action.


Other information from Wikipedia: "The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open APIs and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.

To be able to permanently access the data of other services, mashups are generally client applications or hosted online. .. The history of mashup can be backtracked by firstly understanding the broader context of the history of the Web. For Web 1.0 business model companies stored consumer data on portals and updated them regularly. They controlled all the consumer data and the consumer had to use their products and services to get the information.

With the advent of Web 2.0 a new proposition was created, using Web standards that were commonly and widely adopted across traditional competitors and unlocked the consumer data. Mashups allowed mixing and matching competitor's API to create new services."


Mashup 2011 lowres