/ hackathon

039 #opendatach #basel

Following on our Hackdays last month, we converged mid-February in Basel for the second Open Food Data event this year. Quite a change of scene from the high-tech congress hall we were at in January, this time fresh fruits and vegetables, exotic smells and tempting delicacies greeted us on arrival at the Alte Markthalle in Basel - an historic international center for fruit and vegetable trade, today housing a variety of shops and continuously changing food vendors, art installations and events.

In this post, I talk about the location, the (data) Resources, spectacular Results and upcoming Events.

Speaking of cool locations, did you know..?

When completed in 1929, the 60-metre long cupola hall was the third largest massive dome in the world. It surpassed famous domes such as the Pantheon in Rome and Paris, the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome or the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The engineer Alfred Adolf Goenner (1885-1929) died before the completion of the building he designed. The dome, which weighs only 2800 tons and is 28 meters high, was built in Zeiss Divida shell construction and rests on eight columns. The architect Hans Eduard Ryhiner (1891-1934), completed the construction, with the methods in reinforced concrete being used considered groundbreaking at the time.

— Markthallen AG in State Archives Basel-Stadt

As the room quickly filled up, and we hit things off on Friday morning with a dozen challenge presentations, from fish farms to culture calendars, soil quality to nutrition and smart kitchens against food waste. These presentations were both entertaining, inspiring, and most recommended datasets or at least starting points.


We featured several of the datasets documented on the Hackdays platform to explain the meaning of API (e.g. web service), OGD (government), and ML (machine learning) data sources. There was lots of tech talk and especially Python going on during the weekend.

Big data APIs (online web services) supported at the event were nutritional details on Swiss supermarket products by Foodrepo.org and detailed restaurant records by Prognolite. The use of other APIs was, of course, allowed and encouraged. Thanks to Mike Schudel for campaigning for open map data support on Twitter:

The OGD (Open Government Data) sources we promoted included those of the Canton of Basel City, whose statistics I aggregated and data packaged - and very quickly visualized during the Hackdays. The Federal Office for Agriculture, supports 90 resources on opendata.swiss, which we featured on our page using ckan-embed.

And of course ML (Machine Learning) data is starting to steal the show at our Hackdays, with Food101 and open image collections being used to train A.I. bots and giving us a shiny look into the future of open data powered applications. Our tensors chat had participants sharing other datasets and examples.


All seven of our fantastic project teams are now online, the project pages are all worth a visit and the video pitches a play-through. Well done everyone! In alphabetical order:

Antonios kitchen solution - Forecasting the amount of people for noon and evening for a restaurant located in Zürich.

Basel.farm - Connecting city institutions to food producers by solving the backoffice problem for farmers, while making it easier for them to work with restaurants and caterers and "people from the city".

Berryfarm - An educational app for children and teachers, which verifies the plant found by the children using a large database of pictures and AI.

Food on Record - We help nutritionists provide faster and better advice to patients.

GrabFast - Grab the food of your wish Fast and reduce shopping chaos.

Soil Data Pool - A complex, transparent, cross-linked knowledge of our soil for researchers, politicans, farmers and all other interested people

ZOE - The assistant for my personal healthy lifestyle.


An unfortunate date clash prevented some of us from taking part in the Swiss Python Summit on Friday. Luckily they did a great job with coverage. I would encourage my dear reader to check out the videos and slides from the awesome presentations at #SPS18, e.g. the Carina Haupt – Rocket Science and Software Engineering keynote.

Here are the next happenings on our calendar:


Stats are sexy, so here are some performance analytics from our Python-based project platform:


Thanks a lot for everyone for coming out for two awesome days, sharing the food, and putting load on our servers ;) ~ can't wait to see where these ideas will go next!