London Water Hackathon wrap-up

Julien Harou's picture
October 25, 2011 - 12:12 -- Julien Harou

The Oct. 21-22 2011 London Water Hackathon was a fun and successful event that attracted a total of over 40 developers and water problem solvers.  We're grateful to our sponsors: UCL Grand Challenges and the UCL Environment Institute and to our supporters: Google, IBM and AKVO.

Don't miss this short slide-show of event photographs (2nd day photos only sorry). Also, some video interviews are up on the AKVO blog:  (thanks Mark).
At noon on Oct. 21 the event kicked off with short introductory talks by Mark Charmer (, Deepak Bhatia (World Bank), and hosts Julien Harou (UCL) and Emmanuel Letier (UCL). Over pizza, programmers and problem definers soon settled into 4 groups which after 30 mad hours produced 4 projects/products:
The vision is an app that allows you to compare you water consumption with others in your social network, your street, etc.  Objective is to make consumers aware of the water demands implied by their choices.
Imagine logging in and seeing the price of water mapped all over the world.  An initial iPad app was made to investigate how this could work and what data needs and outputs could be relevant.
How do you plan 20 or 50 years of water supply and demand management (water conservation) interventions to minimise capital, operating, social & environmental costs while guaranteeing supply > demand with sufficient reliability.  This HydroPlatform app does it in 1 page of code!
Congratulations to the Taarifa 10-person team.  In 30 hours of non-stop development they produced a functional website and app!  Their work is designed to enhance the Ushahidi citizen reporting system to enable better managed sanitation complaints in Tanzania (soon globally). 
Our judging panel was composed of:
  • Sarah Bell, Senior lecturer in Civil & Environmental Engineering, UCL
  • Mark Charmer,
  • Phil Hewinson, Google Android
  • Emmanuel Letier, Lecturer in Computer Science, UCL
These pictures show the festive and intense 1.5hr presentation session!  The panel posed tough questions but in the end was supportive of all submissions.  Prizes consisted of lots of Google gear and an IBM global conference call to promote the winning project, and a beer & good cheer at the local pub.  See you at the next one!