Logo for geohack event

Greetings Shifters! As part of my travels I recently attended FOSS4G which is THE international Free and Open Source for Geospatial conference. This year it was held in Nottingham (renamed Mappingham for the event) UK. For the first couple of days there was a geohack sponsored by the MetOffice in partnerships with a whole bunch of organizations within Environmental Science to Services Partnership. The hack identified a whole bunch of topics for the hackers to work on, they picked topics, and then they had about 24 hours to hack on it.

It was a really well run hackathon - plenty of electricity, food, and the ability to seed the audience with a predefined list of applications that need to be built. This was not one of those hackathons where professional hackathoners could come in and show off their app - you really had to use your coding and app design skills to build something new.

Apps Running on OpenShift

About half the teams at the event decided to host their solution on OpenShift and I had a fun time getting them going. It was great to see a team basically go from their local code to an app running on the web in about 30 minutes. It was was also great to see a bunch of developers start to learn about cloud services, git, and new ways of creating their apps. Oh, the free tier for them to host their apps was quite popular as well.

Here is a short list of some of the applications running on OpenShift. Please be aware that some of these apps were still in the hacking phase when I wrote this so I can not vouch for the level of polish on these apps.


Framework for asking the public "how you want to spend your tax money". It was set up for doing experiments or focus groups with the public to assess how much they are actually willing to spend on the environment given other constraints.

Technology Used

  1. Cake-PHP (from the quickstart)
  2. MySQL


Waterways Obstructions

Develop a crowd sourcing mobile application that will display and capture obstructions on waterways as points

Technology Used

  1. Zend Server
  2. Tomcat7 with Geoserver
  3. Postgresql 9.2 with PostGIS 2.1

http://waterobs-geode.rhcloud.com still in progress as of 7:21 PST on Wed Sept. 18th

Event Weather Impact Planner

View and model potential weather impact from the forecast on outdoor events. Uses data from MetOffice, Facebook, Twitter, Skiddle.

Technology Used

  1. PHP
  2. JavaScript with OpenLayer



It will be great to see where the applications go, how much they are used, what new features are added. Either way, it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun hacking some on geo code and helping teams by giving them a public cloud server, with the stack they needed, and a place for them to collaborate on code.

Now to go get my presentations finished for the show - I will be talking on Polyglot spatial with MongoDB and Lucene Spatial - The Forgotten NOSQL Spatial Datastore. Look for some follow up blog posts and perhaps a video.

Happy Coding!