12th August 2015

Open Street Map Hackathon at the Geovation Hub


Guest blog by Alex Wrottesley and Luke Hampson at the Geovation Hub.

OSM Hackathon

For those of you who don’t yet know them, OSM is an open-source worldwide mapping platform, built by community geographers. Although the OSM community is constantly collecting and contributing new data to the platform they are always looking to find ways to improve their maps by curating open geographic information from other sources, including a range of OS data made available through the OS OpenData portal. In demonstrating the Hub’s role as a place to support innovation across the geospatial industry, we were delighted to host OSMLondon – and provide enough tea and coffee to keep them coding all weekend. Appropriately enough the lunchtime pizzas were kindly sponsored by Pie Technologies.

The weekend kicked-off with the organisers, Matt Amos and Andy Allan, setting the broad theme for the event – “Mobile”. They asked the 25 keen hackers what they were intending to work on and gathered all of the thoughts on a whiteboard. The group decided on three key areas:

  1. Looking in to ways of making OSM mobile compatible and more responsive when used on mobile devices.
  2. Looking into ways in which they could enhance the OSM map, through capturing where WIFI hotspots exist around the UK.
  3. Working to fix software ‘bugs’ that are causing issues with their service.

By 4.30pm on Sunday a whole host of new code was demonstrated, including a Mobile Building Details Editor, Mapsforge support for geoJSON, GPS Trace Support for Vespucci and a number of responsive web optimisations to make mobile editing quicker and easier.

The event was a great opportunity for likeminded geo developers to learn, share and work on projects together and above all else, have fun!

Hackathons are events where developers, computer programmers, coders, graphic designers etc. get together, usually on a weekend, to collaborate intensively on software projects. Often, hackathons can be competitive, with prizes up for grabs – though often, developers participate simply because the enjoy working with and learning from like-minded people. Teams work towards a pitching session that takes place at the end of the event, where they present what they’ve been working on over the weekend.

The Geovation Hub is a co-working space for individuals, businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to collaborate, exchange ideas and innovate around ventures that are underpinned by geospatial data. Sign up as a member now and start your own geotech journey. If you’d like to get involved in future Hub events, you can find details here.