Hacking around

Presentation by Rachel

BGS ran an internal hackathon and Team Semantic Search took on the challenge to implement a semantically and spatially intelligent search service. The aim was to improve access to the BGS's resources with an enhanced search tool that can cut through the tangle of complex geoscience terminology, and to improve navigation between information resources.
01 November 2016

Volcano map

The BGS volcanology team receive regular enquiries from government and media about volcanic activity around the world, particularly if it's likely to have an impact on UK citizens abroad or there's potential for humanitarian needs. Volcanic eruptions may last for weeks or longer and changes in eruption style, intensity and scale can occur over minutes to hours, so it can be challenging to keep track of what is happening and where new activity is occurring. This is how our idea for the BGS Hackathon was born.
21 September 2016

Core samples

As part of the inaugural 2016 BGS Hack Challenge, we wanted to see if anything could be made of the BGS collection of digital photographs of core images. It would be nice if we could reassemble images of the core so it appears as if it is laid out in a long line on the floor. This could help with visualising longer runs of core, for logging, for instance. The catch is that there is some variation between the images which to the human eye look "the same", so we looked for a solution as we could not use a simple "cookie-cutter" approach for each photo.
05 August 2016

Using Oculus Rift

The idea behind this challenge was to give our developers and scientists a chance to experiment with emerging Virtual Reality (VR) technologies and see whether visualising 3D data could help make our data more accessible, visible and exciting. Ideally we wanted to show how such tools could be used and demonstrated at conferences, BGS open days or even downloaded by users around the world.
22 July 2016


BGS staff held a 'hackathon' on 19–20 July at the Keyworth offices. Teams of four to six people addressed scientific challenges and developed prototype solutions in a relaxed, informal, collaborative atmosphere.
24 June 2016

Exchanging knowledge meeting

The informatics and environmental modelling teams are an eclectic mix of highly skilled staff from our offices in Keyworth, Edinburgh and Cardiff. To share their different talents, skills, ideas and projects they host an annual interactive team information workshop. Sophie Wood tells us more about the activities and how innovative days like this benefit everyone.
09 March 2015

Envirohack 2015

Is open-access data helping to solve environmental problems? Yes, but only with the innovative thinking and skills of people from a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines. Rachel Heaven, Stephanie Bricker and Anubha Singh may have different expertise within the BGS but one thing they all share is wanting to put data to its very best use. Here they tell us more about their experience (and jellyfish) at the 2015 NERC EnviroHack.
06 March 2015

Space apps challenge

More than 9000 people and 484 organisations from around the world came together in 83 cities across 44 countries to engage directly with NASA at the largest hackathon ever held. Volunteers ranged from graphics designers, hardware and software developers and database engineers to project managers, school teachers and scientists. Wayne Shelley and Steve Richardson are advanced GIS developers and part of the team behind the BGS's app production. Here they recount the experience of the NASA hackathon.
01 May 2013


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