BlueLightCamp Hackathon 2013 by Matt Buck of Drawnalism

I’m really pleased to have been asked back to BluelightCamp to help out with the Sunday hackathon. Last year we had a fascinating day, with some really strong projects developed. These ranged from a re-imagining of how the 101 service could be advertised to the Search Party app.

We’re really keen that the people who come along enjoy themselves, learn something from the collaborations they take part in and meet new people. If you are thinking of coming along, and especially if you haven’t been to a hack event before, we’d like to highlight a couple of things:

1. You don’t have to be a technical whizz

This year we already have a whole host of people signing up. Taking a sneak peak at the names I’m really encouraged to see that people are coming from a wide range of backgrounds, both technical and non-technical. Often, people have the impression that hack events are all about über-geeks dashing off code, typing so fast that you can see sparks coming from their fingertips, stopping only to eat pizza and swig back energy drinks.

BlueLightCamp Hackathon 2013 by Sasha Taylor, on Flickr
Kate Norman and team present at BlueLightCamp Hackathon 2013 | image by Sasha Taylor, on Flickr

Of course, it’s essential to have technical skills in the room, and I’d be lying if I said that you’d want to have a hackathon without anyone there who can code. But, a hack can be any collaborative project pulled together in a short period of time, and even technical hacks need people to have the ideas, write up what’s being done, do some design work or test what is being developed.

2. Preparation is underway – you can start taking part now

At the start of the day we will discuss any ideas that people have for their projects. But if you want to get a feel for the sort of projects people might tackle you don’t have to wait until then. There is a discussion happening on the BlueLightCamp Google Group at the moment, with early ideas including a location aware emergency services app, how to link and manage an organisation’s social media accounts to their existing callout system and a national single service control system across all cat 1 responders.

We are also busy preparing some resources for people who are coming along to the hack. Often hacks will depend on using some open data and we are collating a list of sources that we already know about. Mark Braggins has been working hard to get some new data released in time for the weekend that should be especially interesting to people living locally.

If you know where the open data is held, or if you have any ideas for projects that might be tackled by an intelligent and enthusiastic team in a day, head on over to the group and chuck your 2p’s worth in.

I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s hackathon. If you see me there, do say hello.

Looking Forward To The BlueLightCamp Hackathon
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