World Port Hackathon – a great experience

Last week I had the privilege to attend the World Port Hackathon part of the World Port Days celebration of the Port of Rotterdam.

The Wereldhavendagen is a festival by the Port of Rotterdam that aims to strengthen the bond between the port, the town and its natural hinterland. Over the weekend everyone got the chance to take a look behind the scenes, see how the daily life of the 180,000 employees is like. A unique opportunity for all attendees to check out areas in the port they normally can’t gain access to.

World Port Days
Wereldhavendagen 2016 – Erasmus Bridge

Part of the different events of this year “Wereldhavendagen” was the 4th World Port Hackathon.

This year MarineTraffic was a dedicated co-creation partner for the second time, as an important partner providing key AIS data to the Hackathon participants as well as expertise in AIS.

I was accompanied by three of my colleagues, Alex Charvalias (Product Manager Data Intelligence), Savvas Kampouridis (Head of Engineering) and George Kostas (API Lead Developer). Our trip started early in the morning, had our first coffee and headed to El. Venizelos, Athens International Airport. We were excited to go and meet the participants, as we had already been providing them with a set of data to help them familiarise and start testing them into their ideas, so we already had an idea of who was participating.

On the way there we were engaged with fruitful discussions and questions about the future of ports. The Port of Rotterdam is considered one of the smartest ports, and one of their innovations is engaging the local and international hackers community to develop applications that would solve real port problems. Questions such as how complex port structures such as the Port of Rotterdam, can increase productivity, customer acquisition and performance?

We were to explore how the teams would tackle the Hackathon challenges and how our data would be used.

RDM Port of Rotterdam
World Port Hackathon Day 1

The first day of the event included a short introduction of the challenges, the experts and partners. Then it was all about action and coding. We were inspired by how quickly they could turn their ideas into prototypes and many into working demos.

The API’s usage was on fire, we received more than 10 calls per hacker, 1200 calls that first evening alone. We were excited for the next day, where the ideas would take shape, the programmers would start preparing their presentations and finalise their innovations. Of course, the coding was non-stop throughout the night.

Discussing our API data with the Port of Singapore
Giorgos, API Lead developer at MarineTraffic discussing our APIs

All developers stayed up to work on their projects, we were there most of the time to help them with questions on AIS and our data feed.

The second day found the developers full of energy and passion to finish their projects before the final pitch presentations. We were there, from early in the morning where we witnessed the development of great and innovative solutions using MarineTraffic AIS data.

This was my experience at the World Port Hackathon 2016. I am looking forward to an even bigger, more impactful and data-driven World Port Hackathon 2017!

Find below an interview we provided the World Port Hackathon and the official impression video to give you a taste of what it was like.