In a previous blog, we shared news about how we were supporting the BlueLightCamp hackathon, which was a developer event that took place in Manchester last Sunday. Aimed at developers that work in the Fire, Police and resilience services in the public and private sector, the event provided an opportunity for participants to explore and develop prototype ideas that address just some of the criminal and justice issues we face today.
The day kicked off at 10 am, with the event organisers providing a recap of some of the key topics that had been discussed in Saturday’s unconference. One recurring theme related to the increasing role that social media is playing in the provision of such services and the potential that these channels of communication may hold for the future. Many examples were cited of how police forces are increasingly using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with the public. It was highlighted that some forces are even adopting other platforms such as Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr to not only to broadcast information, but to engage with people directly and to open lines of communication that were previously not in place.
So, with the first hour of discussion coming to a close the clock for development time was well and truly ticking. Only 4 1/2 hours remained before the teams were invited to take to the stage to present their hacks to the judging panel. We encouraged attendees to use OS OpenData and/or OS OpenSpace to build their ideas into a prototype and supported the event by contributing a prize to the team that used either of these offerings in the best way.
There were some great ideas pitched during the closing presentations with each team picking up an award from the various supporters. Our award went to a team that developed a map-based application that will look to use social media to potentially assist in the coordination of public search efforts – an exciting idea, with great potential we’re sure you will agree!