What’s BlueLightCamp?

BlueLightCamp is an annual gathering of people who are passionate about public services, particularly where there’s a blue flashing light involved.

Who attends BlueLightCamp?

BlueLightCamp-ers typically include – but aren’t limited to – fire fighters, police, emergency planners, paramedics, coastguards, technicians, web managers, freelancers, comms people, council officers, and charities. Basically, it’s free and open to anyone who cares about innovation within and around emergency services.

It’s an Unconference

Having a laugh at BlueLightCamp

On Saturday, there’s an ‘unconference’. If you are wondering what in earth one of those is, don’t fret, there’s a detailed explanation here, and there will be plenty of people on-hand who can show you the ropes.

Basically, at an unconfence, there’s no pre-defined agenda – you just turn up, listen to the  session pitches, or pitch one yourself, and go to whichever sessions you like the sound of. If not enough people are interested in a session, it might not happen, or it might get merged with a session that’s similar. If you go to a session, and it isn’t quite what you thought it would be, you are perfectly free to invoke the “Rule of Two Feet” (in other words, get up and leave). And no one will be the tiniest bit offended.

It’s a Hackathon

hacking at BlueLightCamp 2013

On Sunday there’s a ‘Hackathon’. This isn’t the bad sort of hacking that usually get the headlines, this is the nice, friendly sort, where people with ideas get together with developers, designers, open data geeks and other clever people to ‘make stuff happen’. Again, don’t worry if you’re thinking “I’m not technical enough” – we need people who understand the issues to work with developers and data wranglers to come up with innovative solutions to real-life problems.

What are they saying about previous events?

In Reflections on Blue Light Camp #blcamp, social worker Ermintrude2 recounts some of the sessions she attended, including taking part:

in a fascinating and wide ranging series of conversations about some of the darker forces and concerns about the use of social media as well as drawing and sharing experiences of the benefits.

In a fascinating piece, Tim Dobson writes about The Art of Deception: Talking net security at Blue Light Camp:

my aim of attending this event was to listen, learn and meet some passionate and enthusiastic “blue lights”. The discussion was interesting because we really covered a lot of ground; privacy online, uses of social media and website’s being taken down/defaced.

Jon Harvey gives his personal perspective on the Blue Light Camp in: the Blue Light Camp

I was at the Blue Light Camp in Manchester yesterday with a bunch of very interesting folks exploring the application of Social Media to policing (etc.) – lots of useful comments and links to be found using #blcamp

Rory Geoghegan wrote: My First Blue Light Camp which is bristling with links and embedded content. He concludes:

In closing, the inaugural #BlueLightCamp of 2012 appears to have gone off without a hitch – and, in addition to the great sessions, it was good to meet so many new people and to put names, voices and more to so many tweeters. It was also really great to catch up with some familiar faces

In Braindump of Blue Light Camp Andrew Fielding gets to meet his Twitter heroes and:

My personal unconference rule of attending one session which I have no knowledge of (or prior interest in) and letting serendipity take over, worked well (as it usually does). I went to a great session by a design student who was working on a better bag for Paramedics. Did you know that the average paramedic bag weighs 60kg?

Steph Gray of Helpful Technology – wrote a post on BAPCO’s social media hub: Bluelightcamp

The topics discussed ranged from how social media is used in a crisis situation, the role of low cost video streaming tools such as Bambuser, to how to support inter-agency working using social media and a team-based, interactive simulation of how a fictitious crisis might play out in social media.


Breaking with tradition

For the last two years BlueLightCamp has been held in Manchester, immediately before British APCO’s annual exhibition. This year, BlueLightCamp is breaking with tradition, and the event will be in Hampshire at Ordnance Survey’s Southampton headquarters. As well as Ordnance Survey, we’re teaming up with the Hampshire Hub Partnership who’ll be bringing local knowledge and open data to the mix.


As well as the Ordnance Survey and the Hampshire Hub, we already have some amazing sponsors on board, including British APCO, MusterPoint and Public i. Several other organisations have told us they’re interested in sponsoring BlueLightCamp, and we should be able to confirm who they are in the next few weeks.

That said, if you’re interested in sponsoring us, it’s definitely not too late! We’re looking for more sponsors to help us do some amazing stuff, both at the event, and also afterwards

How to sign-up for BlueLightCamp

It’s really easy to sign up – just register via Eventbrite. You can register for the unconference and Hackathon separately if you wish.


BlueLightCamp is back, and it’s coming to Hampshire
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