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OS Map & Hack, virtual hackathon

Using geospatial data to drive sustainable innovation at OS Map & Hack October 2021.

OS Map & Hack, our first virtual hackathon, was dedicated to building innovative concepts and solutions for EV charging and infrastructure. Its goal was to drive sustainable innovation, producing new or enhancing existing solutions that benefited from the use of geospatial data. 

The hackathon bought together teams of developers and data scientists from government, public sector, private enterprise, and start-up communities. EV routing app WattsUp also supported participants with a full dataset of Rapid Chargers in the UK.

OS Map & Hack serves to advance the transition for both those who drive EVs, and those who provide supporting services. Many of our submissions focused on the scaling of EV site planning and infrastructure, whilst others focused on EV routing and other apps that use technology to enhance the consumer experience. 

Our challenges looked at the overall issues at a national, organisational, and individual level

Levelling up

Aims to support local governments in understanding any inequalities in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure planning in Great Britain's rural communities.

Taking charge

Looks at supporting employees of organisations that are adopting EV fleets, to identify where charge points should be developed to support them.

The 'real' EV journey

In the journey to EV's becoming widespread, how can geospatial data be used to affect the behaviours we have towards the experience of owning an EV.

Open innovation

Collaboration is key, so is the technological innovation, this challenge encourages those who have an idea or concept to come forward.

The winners, Arcadis, produced an EV Charging site planner app, designed with local authorities and private developers in mind. The app assesses potential charge point sites, then refines and characterises any search by pinpointing red, amber, and green dots on a map for best location.


"Through the hackathon we’ve been able to start to bring this entire site identification process into a single application, incorporating not only site suitability and land characterisation, but also the capability for users to share preferences for new installation sites with other project stakeholders. This interactivity around the planning process will enable us to give a significantly enhanced experience to our customers and to the businesses and public that ultimately benefit from robust planning of an expanded EV charging network."


2nd place, Department for Transport’s advanced analytics division, who created a routing app called Circuit Finder which calculates how long a journey will take for EV owners with different needs. Users put in their start point and destination for journeys, and the app finds the best route for them according to their preferences.

Plonkers, designed by Ofgem, was a concept aimed at levelling up rural communities to help them transition towards becoming EV friendly. The prototype app focused on Thurso in Scotland and investigated where was best to plonk charge points. Using OS Maps API and OS Places API to provide household addresses, and Open Street Map data for tourists, hotels and caravan parks, it investigated households who share the same charging points and distances from the nearest charger.

Other submissions include teams from Jacobs, Paua Tech, Eloy, Geoplace, RAC foundation and students from National College of Digital Skills.

Github repo

Containing participant information and datasets used during the hackathon.


Hackathon winners

Read our post-event announcement including winners and submission info, the release was also featured in TNW.

Read more

The Judging Panel

Our panel of experts judged concepts presented by participants based on creativity, implementation and use of the APIs available. Here’s what some of our judges had to say:

Ruth Cookman, Head of Policy, Geospatial Commission:

"Innovative uses of location data will be vital in enabling the UK's pathway to net zero and transition to electric vehicles. The OS Map & Hack event demonstrated the huge potential of location data and where this impact could be realised - from optimising the location of new infrastructure to improving consumer experience. As a judge, it was impressive to see the amount teams achieved in the two days, including the creativity, complexity and range of ideas."

Joana Simoes, Developer relations lead, OGC:

"I am thrilled to be part of the OS Map & Hack, by teaching a workshop about OGC standards and being part of the judging panel. I love the idea of introducing these standards to developers, and then seeing how they integrate them into their applications, in order to power their product ideas. I am looking forward to seeing the final showcase of projects, but also for all the discussions and exchange of ideas that will precede it."

Lisa Allen, Head of Consultancy for data programmes, ODI:

"I’m really honoured to be part of the judging panel for OS Map & Hack. Geospatial data is core data infrastructure. Data infrastructure is a vital component of resilient modern societies. It is as essential as roads, railways and the electricity network. Not only in Great Britain but around the world. Events like this help drive innovation, can be a catalyst for growth and build economic and social prosperity in the long run by giving a platform for novel ideas to surface. I can’t wait to see the outcome."

Learn more about the Judging panel