HackTheTownHall 2014

Building apps to cope with flood emergencies

26/27 April 2014


Hacker Registration

The Venue

Event Schedule






HackTheTownHall 2014


In response to the recent flood disasters, this year’s HackTheTownHall will focus on creating apps and tools to help disaster emergency preparedness, response and recovery by residents, local agencies and governments.

What it’s all about

To make use of public (and some private) datasets –tidal and river level data, flood maps, groundwater and flood risk data etc. from the Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey, the Met Office and other agencies, to build useful tools for citizens and governments to better cope with flood emergencies.

Register now to participate!


Central Working Whitechapel
69-89 Mile End Road
London E1 4TT

Food, Drink & Snacks
Food, drink and snacks will be provided throughout the event. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

Event schedule

The hackathon takes place over two days, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April 2013.

Saturday 26 April 2014

  • 09.00-10.00: Registration and breakfast
  • 10.00-11.10: Briefings (see below)
  • 11.10-12.30: Group networking and coding
  • 12.30–1.30: Lunch
  • 1.30–2.00: Ninety second shout-out: say what you hope to build; say what resource you need to build it; invite others to join you
  • 2.00 onwards: Coding

Sunday 27 April 2014

  • 09.00-10.00 Breakfast
  • 10.00-3.00: Coding
  • 3.00-3.45: Prototype pitches
  • 3.45-4.30: Adjudication
  • 4.30-5.00: Prize-giving

Briefings (Saturday, 10.00–11.10):


Network with others to form teams. Use the shout-out to recruit team members. The maximum number in a team is four.

The coding period runs from Saturday until 3.00pm on Sunday afternoon. Make sure to fill out a team sheet and begin to prepare presentations for the pitch.

Software resources
Devs may build their prototypes via native code, APIs or templates. You may use any data analysis, processing or visualization tool you need to build your app.

Environment Agency

Data & Docs for National Flood Risk Analysis

Ordnance Survey

Shoothill Flood Warnings API service (collect API key at Hackathon)

Network Rail




Ownership of code/app development
All code created during the hackathon are the property of the developers.

Outstanding prototypes may be eligible for development support from the Serious Games Institute, the app development unit of Coventry University.


The prize categories for the “HackTheTownHall” are:

  • Best web app
  • Best mobile app
  • Best design
  • Best visualization
  • Best use of databases
  • Best use of geographic data

Prizes will include

  • £1500 in Rackspace credits for the winner of each category
  • GoSquared’s one million page view plan for the winner of each category

Judging criteria

The prototypes produced by developers will be judged according to the following criteria:

  1. Local Impact: Does the app provide easy access to relevant content and enables better links between local residents and official data collecting agencies?
  2. User Experience and Presentation: Is the app simple, well-designed, and easy to use by non technical users?
  3. Accessibility: Is the app usable by and useful to people with disabilities?
  4. Sustainability: How likely is the app to survive beyond the hackathon? Is this a viable app? Is the idea promising enough to warrant sustained development and attention?

The competition will be judged by:

Paul HallettPaul Hallett, Evangelist, Twilio

Follow Paul on Twitter.

Duncan A. R. Turnbull, Sales Engineer, Splunk

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is it going to cost me to particpate?
Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Nowt. It’s free.

How can you do all of this without charging a fee?
Courtesy of our generous sponsors and Central Working for providing the space

Can I spend the entire night at the venue or will I have to burn the midnight oil elsewhere?
The venue will be open for the entire duration of the hackathon. You are welcome to come and go as you please. If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to bring a sleeping bag.

Can I start before the hackathon?
You can prepare wireframes, outlines, or notes but you cannot start any of your design or development until 10.00hrs on the Saturday of the hackathon.

What resources am I allowed to bring/use during the hackathon?
Anything you need to complete your prototype.

What if I don’t finish the project in the allotted time period?
You will be judged based on the completed features. It will be up to the judges’ discretion to determine how your project ranks against other teams’ projects.

Do I need to bring my own computer?
Yes. We encourage devs to bring their own devices. It is expected that you will demo your project directly on your computer.

I am unable to attend the hackathon, will there be another?
Yup. Periodically check this website or Lanyrd. Or, better still, request to be put on our mailing list.

I have a suggestion to make the next hackathon better, or a complaint – where do I report this?
All feedback welcomed. Please email all suggestions, comments, criticisms etc. to hackathoncentral@gmail.com.