BGS Hackathon... by Patrick Bell

BGS developers Wayne Shelley and Steve Richardson
get inventive at the NASA Space Apps Challenge Hack
held at the Met Office in 2014
BGS staff are holding a hackathon on 19-20 July at its Keyworth headquarters. Teams of 4-6 people will address scientific challenges and develop prototype solutions in a relaxed, informal, collaborative atmosphere. Example challenges include:
  • immersive visualisation of spatial data using video game engines
  • machine learning using Google technology
  • unleashing the BGS text corpus amassed over the last 180 years using new semantic web technologies
  • crowdsourced earthquake sensing using smartphones
  • enhanced processing of National Geological Repository digital assets

With more challenges still to be confirmed, this promises to be an exciting two days of interaction and creativity as our software developers, graphic designers and Communications team work together alongside our scientists to spark innovative uses of our technology and data assets to help answer key scientific questions facing society today.

Examples of BGS data delivery systems created by
our in-house software development team
At the end of the event, a judging panel will award the winning team with staff time to pursue their idea further. All teams will keep a video diary and write a blog so we’ll be able to share the outputs of their activities with you.
Keep an eye on our social media channels for updates throughout the event. And yes, we’ll no doubt be eating pizza!

BGS’s in-house software development team has extensive experience of creating award winning systems to visualise and provide access to geoscientific data and information. Examples include OpenGeoscience, UK Soil Observatory, OneGeology and the iGeology mobile app, which is now approaching nearly 300 000 downloads. We hope the hack will provide a springboard to a new generation of products.

We hope the hackathon will uncover exciting new ways to
visualise and interact with data like this augmented sandbox
If this sounds like fun, we are currently expanding our team and recruiting a number of positions including software developers, geospatial application developers, DevOps specialists and data scientists. These positions will be based across our Nottingham headquarters or Edinburgh office. This is a rare opportunity to join us and help shape our future as we expand and continue to modernise our Informatics skills to support our ambition to be a global leader of 'Informatics in geoscience' and remain relevant and competitive within the current IT landscape. For further details and to apply, please visit