15th August 2013

Helping young people innovate with open data at the Festival of Code 2013

Luke Hampson

You may have read in our previous blog that last week, Ordnance Survey supported the Young Rewired State’s (YRS) Festival of Code 2013. Our support for the event involved us working with a team of other experienced mentors, to help almost thirty young people create new prototype apps and websites. Ideas ranged from creating a grocery price comparison site; to building a conceptual app that maps how intelligent people are in different areas of Great Britain.

ordnance survey developer support

Developer Program Manager – Ian Holt teaching Young People how to code with Ordnance Survey data
Photo by Amina Malik Courtesy of Hub Westminster.

Young Rewired State is a network of software developers and designers aged 18 or under, that aims to encourage and support young people by teaching them how to code and programme the world around them. The Festival of Code, run by YRS and now in its fifth year, is a week-long hackathon for young developers held at 37 locations across Great Britain.

Participants work throughout the week to code and design apps and websites with the aim of winning one of five prizes at the festival finale held at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The Hub Westminster, which was one of the centres and the venue attended by Ordnance Survey, produced six hacks – the most number of hacks produced by any of the centres in the festival – to present to the panel of judges at the weekend.

Whilst at YRS 2013, we introduced participants to the range of digital geographic datasets that we produce and maintain, including our range of OS OpenData products. By delivering presentations, tutorials and one-to-one mentoring, we conveyed the benefits of using OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace alongside other data.

developers coding

Photo by Amina Malik Courtesy of Hub Westminster.

The young people benefited from receiving information and guidance on how to integrate OS OpenData into their designs, with many amazed that the data is free to use. Over half the teams were able to innovate with open data, a success which is credit to the high quality nature of our products and their ease of use.

One team, called RegioQuiz, used our data to produce an app that maps the intelligence of the population of Great Britain. By utilising Boundary-Line, the RegioQuiz team were able to produce a quiz in which participants’ scores were geo-located within Euro-boundaries in order to find the most intelligent region in the country. Their great idea and hard work paid off as the RegioQuiz team picked up the Runner Up award in the ‘Code a Better Country’ category. Another team, worked on an app called ‘Map my route home” which utilised Meridian 2 in connection with Transport for London data to map the quickest route home from anywhere in the city. Furthermore, another design beeped if the user moved into an area of high crime, again utilising OS OpenData.

Overall, Ordnance Survey’s presence at YRS 2013 was a fantastic success with both the young people and mentors benefiting. It was a great week and we hope to take part in the Festival of Code again in the future!