Developers build apps for local communities at Spring Hackathon 2013


The apps created enable easy retrieval of information from council websites

The Spring Hackathon 2013, organised by ICT manufacturer Stone Group and Hackathon Central, was held last week at the Google Campus in East London, attracting over 40 developers from around the country competing to build the best apps for local communities.

There were five winners and, according to a press release, “the apps created enable easy retrieval of information from council websites by non-technical users, creating better online and mobile links between communities and local public services in support of the Digital by Default agenda.”

iNeighbourhood Watch was chosen as the Best Mobile App, which gives citizens the ability to report low-level crime by submitting a photo taken on their smartphone which gets sent to local police offers via the Police API. Via a text to voice service, the location and description is read out to the recipient.

The picture of the scene and the description is then sent as an SMS, giving supporting information.

Winner of the Best Design category was Shoreditch Hype, a social aggregation tool concentrated around the social hub of Shoreditch. It collects various social feeds to provide a picture of what was happening in the area, ranging from the Facebook search query API returning events for that day, through to the TfL Cycle Hire API used for showing how many ‘Barclays Bikes’ were available outside Shoreditch High Street station. Traffic updates were also given, with instructions on how much extra time should be allowed for journeys.

Best Web App went to Clouds Over London, a tool to find the most suitable areas in the London to live based on factors such as crime and education;  Winner of Best use of Geographical Data was Crimeline; while Wi-NAV was chosen as Best App for Disabled People. Wi-NAV was described as “the most innovative and ambitious of the apps on show”.

It uses the WiFi scanning capabilities of a smartphone to triangulate the position a user is within the London Underground network by its proximity to mapped wireless access points.

Apart from disabled people, the app could also be used by tourists or those whose first language is not English.


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