Hack Weekend December 2013

Last December we had a hack weekend in London, thanks to AOL UK/MapQuest (my employer) for donating meeting space in their offices and food. About 20 people turned up and did some awesome stuff and we, at the Engineering Working Group, thought you might be interested in what went on and perhaps running your own event.

OSMers hacking away at the Hack Weekend in London, December 2013. Thanks to SK53_OSM via flickr for this photo under CC-BY-SA 2.0.

OSMers hacking away at the Hack Weekend in London, December 2013. Thanks to SK53_OSM via flickr for this photo under CC-BY-SA 2.0.


What went on in London

Here’s a selection of the things that people worked on, in no particular order:

  • Tom deployed the long-awaited “redesign” branch early on Saturday. The branch had been going through code review and final fixes, and Tom continued to fix bugs over the rest of the weekend.
  • Serge worked on adding the ability to comment on changesets. At the moment, one can only contact another mapper via the “user messaging” system, but changeset comments will allow much better, direct feedback and open discussion. Having the discussion openly, and publicly, is important so that  a consensus view can form and be available to refer to later.
  • Grant & Jon worked on SSL for tiles & caches, so that embedding OSM tiles into secure (HTTPS) pages could be done without triggering errors. Robert worked on That should not be possible (TSBP). A tool to see if the route recorded by a GPS trace can actually be travelled using OSM data. Simon worked on CycleStreets.
  • Richard worked on separate map or aerial overlays for PL2 with a mirrored cursor. This is very useful when mapping in a dense, detailed area, so that the features in the aerial imagery aren’t obscured by the existing data.
  • Matt worked on the JSON API, so that the OSM editing API is easier to develop against. Some technologies, particularly web browsers, find it much easier to process JSON format data than the XML which is currently the only option. Teaching the API to speak JSON will make it easier to develop new in-browser tools for OSM contributors.
  • Dan worked on offline cacheing map tiles in Firefox OS, using IndexedDB. Dan has blogged about it in more detail on his blog.
  • Shaun got http://ci.osm.org working again, and is working on moving http://blogs.osm.org to https://github.com/feedreader/pluto. The code for the new system will be on Github.
  • MickO and SK53 started working with Food Hygiene Open Data, the UK government open data release containing information about the hygiene ratings of restaurants, supermarkets and more. The aim was to match this data to OSM data, and SK53 has written more about it on his blog.

If you were at the event, and I have not mentioned your work here – my sincerest apologies. Please tell us what you got up to in the comments below :-)

Run your own hack event!

If you like the sound of a hack weekend, and would like to run your own, the OSMF’s Engineering Working Group would like to help out. Sometimes it’s not possible to find generous corporate sponsors for hack events, so EWG is will reimburse up to US$500, or equivalent local currency, per event to help cover expenses such as space, food and refreshments (We will need the receipts, though!). If you are interested, and would like to run a hack event, please come along to an EWG meeting and let us know what your plans are! EWG also maintains a page on running developer events to help you out.

One thought on “Hack Weekend December 2013

  1. chtfn

    Great news! Those projects are very exciting, looking forward to seeing them implemented!
    Thanks everyone for your hard work! :)

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