I recently took part in Bath:Hacked 2.1, a hackathon where 50 ish people were locked* in a room for 36 hours with a bunch of open data and asked to produce something useful or interesting to the people of Bath.
This was actually my second Bath:Hacked event, the first resulted in this: http://nadnerb.co.uk/bathhacked/ – an interactive map displaying rates of recycling in Bath and North East Somerset.
At the 2.1 event my team created BathAlerts – an email alert service which keeps you informed of any planning applications, crimes or house sales in your local area. It will even send you an instant email alert should the Environment Agency issue a flood alert in your local area. You can try out the service here: bathalerts.bathhacked.org and read more about it here.
It was a great 2 days, I learnt a lot particularly the backend side of things and using GitHub to work on a coding project as part of a team.
One of the more difficult parts of the event was actually deciding on an idea. I think we spent the first 3 hours brainstorming and came up with about 4-5 ideas before settling on BathAlerts.
Feeling inspired after Bath:Hacked I decided to follow up on one of these shortlisted ideas – using the historical mapping datasets recently added to the datastore to explore Bath’s past.
I wanted to produce something from scratch and finally get to grips with CSS to produce a nice responsive design.
The result is HistoryMap – a web app that allows you to easily explore and compare 8 historical maps ranging from the 1500’s to the 1940’s.
I’m pretty happy with the results, it works well on mobiles, tablets and laptops – each with a slightly different design and functionality.
For best performance though I would recommend Chrome on a desktop/laptop.
I hope to add more relevant datasets and maps as and when I find them, as well as extend coverage to other areas.
And finally, a big thanks to everyone at Bath:Hacked for sourcing the data, especially Leigh Dodds for doing the hard work of georeferencing all the maps!
* not really