17th September 2015

Earlier this month 40 participants entered Inmarsat’s offices on Old Street roundabout to participate in GeoHackDay. GeoHackDay was an opportunity for developers, designers and idea makers to get together to help build software applications and/or hardware integrations to tackle real life problems. The ‘hackers’ (not to be confused with someone who finds weaknesses in security systems) were tasked with tackling problems they saw around them from a geographic perspective. 

The day was sponsored by Esri UK, Inmarsat, what3words and Pusher. Each sponsor brought something different to the table, both in terms of technologies and prizes.

  • Esri UK provided their developer APIs and SDKs for building rich mapping and geospatial applications.
  • Inrmarsat provided a days worth of real world geolocated flight data for participants to play with.
  • what3words provided their unique three word addressing system for people to integrate into their projects.
  • Pusher provided their API to help developers build real time apps.

The day started bright and early at 9:00am, coffee being quickly snapped up by participants. After everyone had taken their seat and dug into some pastries, the event kicked off. The initial introduction to the day was followed by an opportunity for participants to do a brief pitch of their ideas to the rest of the group. Gradually teams were formed and ideas started being realised as code and user interfaces. 

At around 12:30 a well deserved lunch was provided by Islington’s famous Bombay Burritos, a uniquely Indian twist on the classic Mexican burrito. At this point many hacks were well on their way with lots of discussion and tapping of keys.

At 6:30 the submission deadline was hit, and participants started getting ready for the end pitches. Overall their were ten submissions, ranging from disaster coordination apps, to flight simulators using real world data, to distance measuring apps for bikers. The full list of hacks can be seen at on the GeoHackDay DevPost submission site. The submission pitches were fantastic and the overall quality of the hacks superb – especially given that it was a single day event!. After the judges had a few minutes to think and discuss, they made their decisions. The prizes for the day were awarded as follows:

I think it’s fair to say that GeoHackDay was a success. Myself and Rod are currently talking about potentially running it again next year, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on that front. If you came along on the day we’d love to hear your comments or thoughts on the day!