Tag Archives: crowd-sourcing

How should a hackday be run?

I’m working with a large public-sector organisation who have a considerable — and potentially very useful — body of data. They’re keen to open it up, and would like to encourage people to use it by having a hack event of some kind. At the same time, it’s gratifying that they’re clear that they don’t wish to unfairly exploit anyone.

We’re considering a number of options, and would welcome comments and additional suggestions.

The event could be held in the Midlands; over one day or two, on weekdays, weekend, or Friday-Saturday. Or a competition could be announced online, with a virtual or real-life “dragons den” type event, for people to present things they’ve worked on at home.

Cray-2 super computer

You won’t need one of these to take part…
Computer Museum: Cray-2 by cmnit, on Flickr, CC-BY

Should we set a specific challenge, or just ask people to do something interesting with the data?

I’ve suggested prizes might be offered for both the most compete solution, and the best idea, whether compete or not. There might be prizes in other categories, such as the best idea by a young person or the most accessible product, or different categories for commercial and hobbyist entrants.

The data holders might also like to consider developing business relationships to the developers of one or more of the products, separate to any prize giving; rights in all the entries would of course remain with their developers, otherwise.

How would you like such an event to happen? We’re aware of the Hackday Manifesto, but what else is best practice, and what other pitfalls should be avoided?

Over to you…

Please Help Me to Compile a List of UK Police Forces’ Wildlife Crime Pages

As a birder and general nature lover, wildlife crime concerns me. Whether it’s the poaching and smuggling of ivory and tiger parts, the disturbance of nesting birds, or badger baiting, I want it stopped.

Of course, it’s the responsibility of each police force in the UK to act against such crimes, and to take seriously reported incidents. Some forces appoint specialist “Wildlife Crime Officers”, under various titles. Some have web pages about such officers and their work against wildlife crime, like this excellent example from North Yorkshire Police. Others, sadly, do not.

I’m interested in finding out which police forces do have such officers, and which publicise their existence online. But that’s a big task, and I can’t do it alone. So I’m asking for your help.

Please have a look at this spreadsheet on Google Docs (many thanks to OpenlyLocal for the list of forces and their home pages). Find your own (or any!) force, and, if it’s not already listed search its site for a wildlife crime page. If you find one, add its URL to the spreadsheet. Otherwise, enter “none”.

I’ll find a permanent home for the results; hopefully that will encourage forces which do not have a page about wildlife crime on their website to add and maintain one.

Meanwhile, if you wish to report wildlife crime in progress, call 999, or otherwise report it to Crimestoppers (who will treat the report as anonymous if you wish) on 0800 555 111.