On Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March around 70 developers, data scientists, academics, flood risk management consultants, local authority experts and geographers came together for our #FloodHack16 event at the Open Data Institute (ODI) in Leeds.
After being hugely impressed by the facilities and work being done by Paul Connell and his team at ODI Leeds when I first visited in October I just knew that we had to do something with them. And when the Boxing Day floods devastated huge parts of Yorkshire, I asked if they would organise a ‘Flood Hack’ if we gave them some funding to cover their costs.
In my opinion, some of the best things we’ve done at Tech North so far include seed funding new initiatives and sponsoring community-based events like this. Despite what many people think, Governments around the world have a long history of investing in new technology that creates and shapes the world (see Mariana Mazzucato’s excellent Thinking Digital 2014 talk on ‘Creating a revolution in how we speak about government‘).
Like all hackathons, there’s always the question of “what comes next?” So much skill, time and effort was put into #FloodHack16 by people who genuinely care about using ‘tech for good’ that it would be a shame not to take their ideas and outcomes further.
With George Osborne announcing that £700M would be spent on ‘flood defences’ in his Budget today, I’d love to see some of this given to ODI Leeds to implement some of the ideas which you can see outlined in the videos below:
(Huge thanks to John Popham for live streaming #FloodHack16 and recording interviews and show and tell presentations throughout the two days. See all his excellent videos here).