RiverHack 1.0 – Connecting people-land-water for healthier rivers

By: Anne Miller, University of Oxford

Friday evening, 14th October, saw 30 curious and energetic enthusiasts come together at the Oxford Hackspace.

Despite most people feeling a bit nervous at the outset, unsure of what a hackathon really was, this motley group of students (young and old), entrepreneurs and representatives of different interest groups had a lot of fun over the next 24 hours, forging their own new community. Fuelled by pizza, pastries and the odd alcoholic beverage, we made creative use of the masses of available data to generate wacky but workable tools and projects that could help ordinary folks to understand and connect better with their local rivers and streams.

At the end of a very energetic Saturday, 6 teams pitched their projects to the judges in the Dragons Den, each with a very different focus and target audience. The judges, impressed by all 6 projects, nevertheless managed to select three for extra commendation:

  1. Dogs And Ducks
  2. Water Goggles
  3. Learning to Love our Rivers

Next steps will be to seek further support for all the projects that have potential for funding, and also to start planning RiverHack 2.0 – which we hope will build on the experiences and information which we have now gathered and stored (much of it on the Oxfordshire Open Data platform).

Still to be explored but possibly something related to new devices and tools for measuring and monitoring the water quality, so we can fill more gaps?

More detail of the hackathon and of the projects we generated are here.

This was a partnership event organised and delivered by Wild Oxfordshire, Earthwatch, AgileOx, Oxford Hackspace, CEH, and Downstreams, with support from Smart Oxford.