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Techies Take on Port Authority's Data For Path Stations in 'hackathon'


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People working during the PATH Data Jam hackathon.

Code of Jersey City recently held its second all-day Hackathon.

Credit: Neil Barris/The Jersey Journal

Code of Jersey City, a group associated with OpenJC, which collaborates with the city government on data projects, held its second all-day Hackathon  Saturday at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, NJ. The event gave about 50 computer scientists and programmers, coders, graphic designers, and residents an opportunity to use their skills to make sense of some of the Port Authority's data.

Officials with the bi-state agency had floated a proposal to cut overnight PATH service, but it was defeated. The data project will help give the Port Authority a better sense of the problems the PATH train system is facing.

One small group of participants received five months' worth of raw data on every PATH station turnstile, and will eventually convert it into a graph or map. Another group received a few months' worth of data on how many riders used ferries to cross the Hudson River when the PATH service was unavailable.

"There's no standard" for the data, says Roberto Martin, a computer scientist from New Brunswick, NJ. "When you first open the file...it comes in many different formats and is not very legible."

OpenJC founding member Anna Lukasiak says the hackathon gives residents a sense they have the ability to solve Jersey City's problems.

From The Jersey Journal (NJ)
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