Hackathon in Britain Held for Good Cause

Hackathon is a contest where computer programmers stay up for hours usually to create a new application or solve word problems. The hackathon that was held in Britain was for a good cause because developers had to create technological solutions to help flood victims in Britain. The event was held at Google Campus on Sunday, and over 200 people attended. The name of the event, #floodhack, was thought up at a No. 10 Downing Street meeting on Friday to try to help people impacted by the flood that occurred in the United Kingdom.

Individuals as well as engineers and developers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TechHub and Twitter attended the event. Representatives from the Open Data Institute, the Environment Agency, Tech City UK, the Government Digital Service and the Cabinet Office also attended the event. Participants were allowed to use live data from the Environment Agency to create their solutions. After contestants were finished with their program, they pitched their program in a two minute speech. Members of the Cabinet office judged the entries of the hackathon in Britain that was held for a good cause.

One of these solutions was titled Fludbud, which used Twitter to connect volunteers around flooded areas. Another idea was a system called Don’t Panic, which is meant to send requests to help flood victims who do not have access to the internet. UKFloodAlerts was a third idea participants pitched. The idea is to send out predefined alerts, such as saying that a pipe burst, to residents though an app or text message. ViziCities was also pitched, which can be used to visualize the effects of a flood in 3D.

Gerard Grech, the future CEO of Tech City UK, told Tech City News that the Environment Agency has been working non-stop since their meeting on Friday to make the data available to contestants. He also said that both the Environment Agency and the Governmental Digital Service were inspired by the speed at which developers today can create new services from scratch. Joanna Shields, the current CEO of Tech City UK, said that the United Kingdom is suffering the worst flood of their lifetime and in a meeting on Friday convened at No. 10 Downing Street the government asked the technology community to use the wealth of flood data to the best of their ability. She also said that the response they have seen from developers has been fantastic. Shields also commented on the contest by saying that over the course of the weekend they had hundreds of people volunteer their time to create genuinely innovative applications that are a testament to their imagination, creativity and generosity of their local technology community and shows the power of the government opening up data.

Klaus Bravenboer helped create MyState, which is a standard messaging system that allows people to register their situation and ask for help from other people. Bravenboer commented on the event by saying that even though the hackathon was loud and chaotic, the day was very inspiring and at times had the mood of a wartime effort. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented on the hackathon by tweeting that it is great to see the United Kingdom’s technology community coming together to create technological solutions to respond to the flooding.

Britain held a Hackathon titled #floodhack on Sunday at the Google Campus for a good cause. The purpose of the event was to ask both developers and individuals to create a solution for the recent flood that happened in the United Kingdom. 16 teams competed for six prizes that ranged from 2,000 pounds worth of development grants from the Nominee Trust and three months of Azure hosting from Microsoft to a No. 10 mug. Every team was also given $2,000 worth of hosting on Google Cloud from Google. Anthony Simon, the head of digital communications at No. 10, told Tech City News that the company wants to help wherever they can when it comes to promoting the new services and hope the creators can get their programs to the next level.

By Jordan Bonte


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