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EU Datathon 2022 teams behind the apps: Meet the AI-Team

Visualising data to improve transparency in public procurement

‘The teams behind the apps’ is a series of videos made by the EU Datathon finalists. Get to know this year’s teams and their apps over 12 episodes, twice per week, in the run-up to the competition finals. On 20 October 2022, the teams will pitch their apps to the jury that will select the winners. The audience will also have a chance to support their favourite team in the Public Choice Award vote. Register now to follow the finals online!

 

Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) is the European public procurement journal. TED publishes 676 000 procurement notices a year, including 258 000 calls for tenders which are worth approximately EUR 670 billion. The AI-Team proposes visualising TED data in a graph database and combining it with ownership information and a list of sanctioned entities. This will allow public officers and competing parties to trace the amounts and values of awarded contracts all the way to the company owners. The team behind this app – Christian Spindler, Thomas Wurster and Stefan Fisches – joined us for a short interview in which we talked about the app, the idea that led to its creation and why they decided to participate in the EU Datathon.

 

How are you doing with the app? What’s the status?

Frontend and backend continue to grow. We have iterated through some libraries and now have settled. We have meetings with possible user groups to work out applications that support their daily use cases. However, we found it hard to discover rich datasets and hard to know where to begin with a query.

We aim to have four user groups and support their interests digitally: interested EU citizens; companies new to public procurement; contracting authorities supporting competition; politicians and public authorities creating rules and regulations for a sustainable future.

Our app already combines external data from business registers and TED data from the official portal for European data. During the last 4 months it has been super interesting to see that a lot is currently happening with that data in national governments in order to fulfil EU directives for open access, and how much data has already been collected. This helps us progress.

We also see that ensuring data consistency and combining the data to discover interesting patterns still requires a lot of work or how we tend to say ‘some sleepless nights’.

 

Why did you decide to take part in the EU Datathon?

We wanted to do a project together for a long time and one night Chris sent out a link to the Datathon. The four topics sounded very interesting. Bringing more transparency to public procurement seemed to touch on each of our areas of expertise, so we got started.

We are happy to see that an after-work project between friends is turning into something really interesting and potentially impactful. Honestly, we did not expect to get this far and it has motivated us to push forward with our idea! We think it shows the power and the importance of open data and open-source software. With the selection for the finals approaching, the evening brainstorming turned into late-night coding sessions.

 

What makes your app special?

Our app visualises, combines and filters publicly available data and increases the transparency of assigned tenders, successful tenderers, contracting authorities and contracting criteria. We then decided to use maps (geographic and logical) to connect to the data and get started with locations you already know and understand.

Our Graph Network allows users to digest complex correlations faster and easier. The combination of TED database information with business registers creates much greater value for users compared to Status Quo in TED.

 

To find out more about the AI-Team, watch this 1-minute video.

Curious to learn more? Discover the teams and the apps on the EU Datathon website, watch their videos on YouTube and follow their updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or via our newsletter.