_73037015_dsc_0413[1]On Friday evening (14th Feb 2013), as I was walking out the building for the weekend, I was grabbed by a colleague and asked if I’d fancy giving up my Sunday.  It transpires that earlier in the day Microsoft and a whole load of other tech companies had a call from 10 Downing Street asking if we’d be able to send some people to a hack-a-thon being organised for two days later.

It’s one of the great things about working at Microsoft that the people who work here will just say ‘yes’ to a question like that, and even better than our families (even on Valentine’s weekend) will enthusiastically say ‘yes’ to us going too.

So 17 of us from loads of different disciplines turned up at Campus London in Tech City (courtesy of Google) along with about 200 others to hack some solutions to the flood problem we’re having in the UK.  The premise is pretty simple, get a bunch of geeks together, give them a brief, give them some data, give them some food, build something awesome.

We started with some general information from the Environment Agency and a few others (notably Shoothill who produce the FloodAlerts app and Flood Volunteers, a NFP setup to put volunteers in touch with those that need help).  We were shown how to get some data, flood warnings and river levels for example, and we were sent on our way.

I’m not going to cover what we built here because we’ll be discussing that in more detail over the next week as we tidy things up, but you can take a look at the video from the end of the day where each hack got 2 mins to present their work.

All-in-all it was an awesome day, one I and the others from MCS who attended were proud to be part of.

Here are all of the presentations made on the day.

Written by Simon Middlemiss