Last Thursday saw the successful first ever Hack Day at Ordnance Survey. Open to all staff, the only rule was to come up with an interesting idea and take it from concept to prototype in one day.
This opportunity saw 10 teams come together and develop their ideas. At the end of the day (at around 8.00 pm), each team had to demonstrate their product and by popular vote a winner was chosen.
After an initial briefing at 8.30 am, a creative buzz descended on the teams. The only time heads were raised was when the participants emerged for food and drink! There were a whole range of ideas developed, from an internal social network for Ordnance Survey staff, to an OS OpenSpace app that mapped the nation’s regional dialects.
The day was so successful we’re now thinking about running something similar for people outside of Ordnance Survey. Anyway, the winners of our staff Hack Day were chosen by popular vote, which actually resulted in a two way tie.
One of the winners were the EXE Files (geddit?), who built an email web service that can operate like mail merge. The team hope it will solve the recurring problem of email mechanisms having to be developed for every new application here at Ordnance Survey.
The other winners were Happy Maps who created a replacement for our internal map viewer using ESRI technology. They’d also enhanced it to display national crime statistics.
The winning teams shared the coveted Hack Day trophy.