I signed up for the OS Map & Hack as I'm interested in mapping and geo-stuff. I also wanted to apply some of the basic web dev skill I have picked up myself and as part of the Northcoders coding bootcamp precourse and prep work in something approaching a real world environment.
I was put in a team of 5 including: a bootcamp grad who has started his own business, two people already working/studying in the geospatial area, and someone working on Electic Vehicle (EV) chargepoint strategy for a local authority.
We had 2 days (Oct 6/7) to come up with an idea and present to judges through 2 rounds of judging - all online. Our idea was to empower local communities to gather evidence of the high-level feasibility of siting EV chargepoint in their communities and connect them with other local organisations that may have better facilities.
We worked on a working prototype and came up with this:
Our EV strategy expert was key in helping us figure out the main things that affect siting of a chargepoint from a demand and supply persective. So a local community could take our app and pitch their local authority/charging network for infrastructure or grants.
We actually had a great mix of skills: strategy, geospatial, business & development. I was surprised how relatively little coding we did - I wrote one function to make an API call and update the DOM with some data. Most was discussion (on Discord & voice) about the purpose and audience for the app. That was fine - I learnt a bit about EV infractructure and collaboration remotely.
When it came to the judging we were the only team that could demo an app and we got through to the 2nd round. Ours also was a bottom-up approach where the others were all top-down so we thought we had a good idea. Some other teams were obviously geo-experts and had some whizzy-loooking slides and had obviously spend far more than 2 days on their solution!
Come the second round we were left out of the presentations 😞 Although we had complied with all requirements the organisers maintained we were too late to be included due to the strict timetable - not fair!
An offer of a virtual meeting with an OS Product Manager next week did not mitigate the diappointment of playing with the big beasts!
Anyway, overall it was a great experience and a pleasure working with my team. I am definitely up for more hackathons in the future.