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SOS! Hackers needed for transglobal ‘Hackathon’ in Birmingham

Emergency announcement: Digital Birmingham is hosting a transglobal ‘Hackathon’ in Birmingham, facilitated by Scraperwiki and in collaboration with hack events in Edmonton [Canada] and Seoul [Korea], with the aim of building a disaster situation app.

When? Wednesday 20th October 2010 – 14:00 to Thursday 21st October 14:00.  We know this announcement comes at short notice but you don’t get notice in a real emergency!

Where? Birmingham Science Park Aston Faraday Wharf, Holt Street.

What will our hackathon be like? It will be slightly different from most hackathons. As we work on our project, we will be sharing what we’re working on with Edmonton [Canada] and Seoul [Korea] as we ‘follow the sun’.

We’re going to spend 24 hours trying to create the blueprint for an app design that can be used in cities all over the world. This will be an application that will help families prepare during a disaster and will list emergency muster points, emergency info, alerts during disasters, and what to do. It will cater for different scenarios: although floods or a Buncefield type explosion are both emergency situations, you don’t handle them the same way. The aim of this app  is to keep people safe, and we hope to come up with a guideline for how it should look – so that app designers around the world can pick up the guideline and run with it.

We will join up with Edmonton [Canada] and the Girl Geeks Hackathon Team at 14:00 on the 20th and set the scene for what we will be doing.  We will have OPEN DATA sets from Edmonton.  We also hope to have a representative from Birmingham’s emergency planning team to talk about real scenarios and how they are dealt with by the authorities and emergency services. After our link up with Edmonton we will break into project groups and start the hack.

Why? This is not abandonware!  Think repository. Think CPAN! The code that is written will not be a temporary sand castle; it will be more like graffiti. This is a chance to work collaboratively with developers from across the world over 24 hrs. Come for 4 hrs or 8 hrs or do the full 24hr marathon and join us for what promises to be a great night.

Who should come? Hackers who are interested in making a difference or insomniacs!  We need coders, designers and creative people. We would also love to have people who are involved in emergency planning and crisis management.

What happens afterwards? The best ideas will be taken up and potentially used as the basis for new product development that could act as an app template for any city in the world.

Who else is helping? The event is facilitated by ScraperWiki, the 4IP funded data start-up behind the UK & Ireland Hacks & Hackers Hack Day tour.

Scraperwiki provides a platform that allows programmers the ability to develop, store, and maintain software scrapers for the purposes of extracting and linking data.  In addition ScraperWiki provides ‘views’, that allow private individuals, researchers, journalists and commercial organisations the ability to interrogate and cross-reference public data in a simple and meaningful way.

Other (important) stuff! We will feed you and give you lots of coke, pizza and refreshments – we will also have beers at the end to celebrate.

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