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March 15 2011

16:12

Cardiff Hacks and Hackers Hacks Day

What’s occurin’? Loads in fact, at our first Welsh Hacks and Hackers Hack Day! From schools from space to catering college’s with a Food Safety Standard of 2, we had an amazing day.

We got five teams:

Co-Ordnance – This project aimed to be a local business tracker. They wanted to make the London Stock Exchange code into meaningful data, but alas, the stock exchange prevents scraping. So they decided to use company data from registers like the LSE and Companies House to extract business information and structure it for small businesses who need to know best place to set up and for local business activists.

The team consisted of 3 hacks (Steve Fossey, Eva Tallaksen from Intrafish and Gareth Morlais from BBC Cymru) and 3 hackers (Carey HilesCraig Marvelley and Warren Seymour, all from Box UK).

It’s a good thing they had some serious hackers as they had a serious hack on their hands. Here’s a scraper they did for the London Stock Exchange ticker. And here’s what they were able to get done in just one day!

This was just a locally hosted site but the map did allow users to search for types of businesses by region, see whether they’d been dissolved and by what date.

Open Senedd – This project aimed to be a Welsh version of TheyWorkforYou. A way for people in Wales to find out how assembly members voted in plenary meetings. It tackles the worthy task of making assembly members voting records accessible and transparent.

The team consisted of 2 hacks (Daniel Grosvenor from CLIConline and Hannah Waldram from Guardian Cardiff) and 2 hackers (Nathan Collins and Matt Dove).

They spent the day hacking away and drew up an outline for www.opensenedd.org.uk. We look forward to the birth of their project! Which may or may not look something like this (left). Minus Coke can and laptop hopefully!

They took on a lot for a one day project but devolution will not stop the ScraperWiki digger!

There’s no such thing as a free school meal – This project aimed to extract information on Welsh schools from inspection reports. This involved getting unstructure Estyn reports on all 2698 Welsh schools into ScraperWiki.

The team consisted of 1 hack (Izzy Kaminski) and 2 astronomer hackers (Edward Gomez and Stuart Lowe from LCOGT).

This small team managed to scrape Welsh schools data (which the next team stole!) and had time to make a heat map of schools in Wales. This was done using some sort of astronomical tool. Their longer term aim is to overlay the map with information on child poverty and school meals. A worthy venture and we wish them well.

Ysgoloscope – This project aimed to be a Welsh version of Schooloscope. It’s aim was to make accessible and interactive information about schools for parents to explore. It used Edward’s scraper of horrible PDF Estyn inspection reports. These had different rating methodology to Ofsted (devolution is not good for data journalism!).

The team consisted of 6 hacks (Joni Ayn Alexander, Chris Bolton, Bethan James from the Stroke Association, Paul Byers, Geraldine Nichols and Rachel Howells), 1 hacker (Ben Campbell from Media Standards Trust) and 1 troublemaker (Esko Reinikainen).

Maybe it was a case to too many hacks or just trying to narrow down what area of local government to tackle but the result was a plan. Here is their presentation and I’m sure parents all over wales are hoping to see Ysgoloscope up and running.

Blasus – This project aimed to map food hygiene rating over Wales. They wanted to correlate this information with deprivation indices. They noticed that the Food Standards Agency site does not work. Not for this purpose which is most useful.

The team consisted of 4 hacks (Joe Goodden from the BBC, Alyson Fielding, Charlie Duff from HRZone and Sophie Paterson from the ATRiuM) and 1 hacker (Dafydd Vaughan from CF Labs).

As you can see below they created something which they presented on the day. They used this scraper and made an interactive map with food hygiene ratings, symbols and local information. Amazing for just a day’s work!

And the winners are… (drum roll please)

  • 1st Prize: Blasus
  • 2nd Prize: Open Senedd
  • 3rd Prize: Co-Ordnance
  • Best Scoop: Blasus for finding  a catering college in Merthyr with a Food Hygiene Standard rating of just 2
  • Best Scraper: Co-Ordnance

A big shout out

To our judges Glyn Mottershead from Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Gwawr Hughes from Skillset and Sean Clarke from The Guardian.

And our sponsors Skillset, Guardian Platform, Guardian Local and Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

Schools, businesses and eating place of Wales – you’ve been ScraperWikied!


February 22 2011

07:01

New event! Hacks & Hackers Glasgow (#hhhglas)

Calling journalists, bloggers, programmers and designers in Scotland!

Scraperwiki is pleased to announce another hacks & hackers hack day: in Glasgow. BBC Scotland is hosting and sponsoring the one day event, with support from BBC College of Journalism. As with our other UK hack days, Guardian Open Platform is providing the prizes.

Web developers and designers will pair up with journalists and bloggers to produce a number of projects and stories based on public data. It’s completely free (food provided) and open to both BBC and non BBC staff. It will take place at the Viewing Theatre, Pacific Quay, Glasgow on Friday 25 March 2011.

Any questions? Please email judith@scraperwiki.com.


December 09 2010

09:19

Hacks and Hackers Dublin: Data and the Dail

[Video: courtesy of Cathal Furey]


“Dublin can be heaven, at a quarter past eleven and a stroll in Stephens Green, there’s no need to worry, there’s no need to hurry, you’re a king and the lady’s a queen…”

Onwards and downwards we headed towards Dublin, as part of our UK & Ireland Hacks & Hackers tour.

We were received as guests at the Irish Dail and given a tour of Leinster House (see left) which was useful given that our event was all about opening up Government data – thank you to Dermot Keehan (Irish Embassy London) and Patrick Rochford (Private secretary to Conor Lenihan TD).

We attended and spoke at a meeting of one of our sponsors, Dublin Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists, by kind invitation of Gerard Cunningham and enjoyed an evening and a few pints in the warm and inviting Buswell’s Hotel opposite Leinster House.

On the HHH day we journeyed through Dublin along the River Liffey to Wood Quay, a site that houses the remains of a Viking city dating back to the 12th Century and which was without doubt our most prestigious venues to date. We were there courtesy of Dublin City Council and Innovation Dublin and we received a fantastic welcome and great support from all their staff especially Maeve White and John Downey. We were also sponsored by Guardian Open Platform and developer Michael Brunton-Spall (@bruntonspall) joined us for the event.

We had a great crowd on the day itself and we were delighted with the variety and scope of the projects.

First prize was given to MonuMental. Martha Rotter (@martharotter), Jane Ruffino (@janeruffino), John Craddon (@johncraddon), Elaine Edwards (@elaineedwards), Paul Barker, Michael Brunton-Spall (@bruntonspall) David Garavin (@newgraphic) and Alison Whelan (@smartdesigns). The project aimed to expose information and the location of archaeological monuments and combine these with planning data to show the danger that exists if there is a lack of awareness on planned public works. The idea was that the project would be sustained and would help local people actively campaign for the preservation of works that were treasured by communities.

The second prize was awarded to eTenders: Follow the Money. Fergal Reid (@fergal_reid), Gavin Sheridan (@gavinsblog), Julian Todd (@goatchurch) and Conor Ryan (@Connie_Zevon). The project was designed to highlight the issues facing people trying to understand how government contracts are distributed and to show patterns and relationships between contracts, organisations and government representatives.

The third prize and much-coveted ScraperWiki mug prize went to the ‘EPA Pollution Licenses and Enforcement’ project by Richard Cyganiak (@cygri). Since 1994 the EPA has been licensing large-scale industrial and agricultural activities. The project looked at the history of the applications for these IPPC licenses and aligned these to enforcement activities. It highlighted which sectors needed most attention for enforcement orders. The data was collated by scraping the EPA’s web based IPPC database and a PDF listing enforcement activities.

Road Safety included team members Gerard Cunningham (@faduda), Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, Cian Ginty (@cianginty) Mary O’Carroll, Alison Spilane (@Alison_Spillane) Trish Morgan and Victor Akujobi (@akujobi). The objective of this project was to show the number of road deaths per county and in parallel show the number of speed cameras and penalty points issued.

Twitter Mood Index, by Antonella Sassu (@misentoscossa), Marco Crosa, Victor Akujobi (@akujobi) and John Muldoon (@John__Muldoon) was a project designed to gauge the mood of Dublin people by sampling and analysing twitter feeds.

‘Fingal County Council is first to market’: We were also delighted to have Dominic Byrne from Fingal County Council who explained how he had set our HHH date as the target date for his team to launch their Open Data initiative. It was a coup for the council and a very promising first. It was great to hear him talking about the value in and the process for the publishing of government data.

A special thanks to our judges Michael Fisher (@fishbelfast), Dominic Byrne (Fingal County Council) and Michael Stubbs (Dublin City Council).

Thank you to bloggers and journalists for the additional coverage. Read more here:

Finally a huge ‘thank you’ to the Woods, the Wheatleys and the McGuires for their generous hospitality during our visit.

Oo, and must not forget the obligatory pizza pic!…

We set sail (in a gale but only force 9 this time!) after a few more pints of Guinness in O’Shea’s on the Quays where Francis and Julian declared that they were up for a sprint in the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in 2011: I guess that must mean that we are going back next year and that we should really do a #hhhgal!

Roll on 2011!

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