20
Jul
2011
0

Should Ordnance Survey run a Hack Day?

Hack Day?

Last week we ran a Hack Day for staff here at Ordnance Survey (more details on Friday, and no we didn’t invite anyone called Murdoch) and it got me wondering if we should run something similar, but make it open for all.

For the uninitiated, a Hack Day is an “event where developers, designers and people with ideas gather to build ‘cool stuff'”.

In our case this would mean using geo-data, alongside any other available data, to build interesting, useful or just plain fun applications, websites or tools.

We had a quite a few comments when we asked this on Twitter, but I also wanted to pose the question here as it’ll be easier to gather everyone’s ideas and thoughts.

It’s just an idea at the moment, nothing more, and your feedback will help us decide whether to pursue it or not. So shout loud and clear – should we run a Hack Day? What would you want to see in it? Should it just be about using OS OpenData? Where should we hold it?

Don’t be shy, tell us what you think!

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks Dan, any thoughts on what kind of theme would interest you? The Hack Day we ran here was open to any ideas, so we had an eclectic mix! What would worry me, is that if you have a theme, you need to make sure it’s wide enough to encourage a range of ideas, whilst as you say, giving people purpose. A tricky balance.

  2. Mariateresa

    Of course this would be a great idea.
    Use it to spread some “linked data” ideas, and using data from different data sources. Not just OpenData but mainly that. Location? South West.

  3. I have participated in many Hack Days over the years and I would say yes it is a great idea.

    Obviously you want people to use your APIs or play with your data, but making it a more open Hack Day will make it a better event all round. Partnering with other organisations is also a good idea to reduce costs and increase variety and turnout. The one thing I would say is that to reach the enthusiastic developers you need to run it at a weekend, and to have some real working outputs you are best running it for two days, preferably through the night.

    Can you get along to http://leedshack.com/ or http://overtheair.org/ to see how that works well, or perhaps consider sponsoring and partnering.

  4. The suggestion for a theme should be broad, something like linking datasets or as mentioned in the blog, focus around open data and getting the most out of it. I know that Open Street Map hold “hack days” and due to the open nature of their data some interesting concepts come out of it.

    I would argue that running a hackday over a whole weekend would only attract the hardcore mapper’s and would limit participants with family commitments.

  5. I could waffle on for house with examples of why trying to theme a hack day would be bad, but I will spare you that for now. One half way house it to suggest challenges and leave it up to people if they take them up or not.

    The weekday and weekend call is always a tricky one and the answer often come from who you want to attend. Yes it is hard for some people with families to attend, and I guess this includes you Dan, but it is imposable for more people to attend because of work commitments. If you are targeting people from the industry who can financially justify taking the time off then go with a week day or two, but if you want new blood using the data or otherwise then a weekend is defiantly best.

    I am happy to give my thoughts and views or connect people with other organisers if that is of help. http://www.agm.me.uk/contact/

  6. Rupert

    I think keeping it as open as possible would allow the creative juices to flow, rather than limit it by a theme. If you could include an on-line element it could cater for those who couldn’t physically attend, for whatever reason.

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