9th February 2015

This weekend ICHack attracted around 80 people to GoCardless’s offices for a 24 hour student hackathon. The hack produced over 20 teams building unique and innovative ‘hacks’; projects built from computer code and hardware. ICHack was organised by Imperial College Department of Computer Science Society and Major League Hacking (MLH), an international organisation looking to promote inclusive hackathons.

 The Hackathon in Full Swing

I really was really excited to be part of the event, and saw some really innovative and creative hacks across the board. The event was a great success, allowing for an informal and friendly environment to work on coding skills and projects, and meet new people in the process. MLH and associated sponsors did an amazing job of running some fantastic mini events, including a VR workshop using MLH’s Oculus Rift, and the Popcorn and Candy Floss stand! 

The Candy Floss Machine (Thanks Bloomberg!)

There were some incredible hacks presented, including a DIY Oculus Rift and a team who invented their own programming language from movie quotes using Haskell! 

A homemade VR headset

A few teams made some fantastic use of Esri’s tools as part of their hacks. Sparkling Lemons used a Raspberry Pi to collect air quality data from the local neighbourhood and then push this into a Feature Service. They visualised their data using the ArcGIS JavaScript API and then used the areas of high pollution to act as barriers; points in the road network that should be avoided. This allowed them to produce a routing system that routes around areas of high pollution. Sparkling Lemons went on to win the overall hackathon prize, and also the Netcraft prize. 

Sparkling Lemons demoing their air pollution routing app

Another team that made use of Esri developer tools were Listn, who used ArcGIS Online to store a network dataset for London and attribute songs playing from an Android device to points along the network. I thought their coding, execution and presentation were really great and subsequently awarded them the Esri UK Best Use of API prize. I’d also like to give a thanks to GiantPanda who built an ‘Uber for coffee’ app that implemented the ArcGIS Android SDK to visualise coffee shop locations. 

Listn won the Esri UK Best Use of API prize

I was really happy to be part of such an exciting and successful hackathon and I’m looking forward to being involved in more in the coming future. I’d like to say a big thank you to ICDoCSoc and MLH for organising the event, and also the other sponsors who helped make it happen.

If you’re interested in what we’re up to, or want to learn more, you can follow me on Twitter on @JamesLMilner, or check out our developer meetups and events at: www.meetup.com/geodev.