BANES have made their air quality data public and are funding a hack to find innovative ways to use it. We’re calling on clever people with lungs and technical skill to help make sense of the numbers.

TL;DR version:

Date: Saturday 20th September 2014, 9am start

Venue: Co-working Bath – The Guild

Tickets: Free from our Meetup page

Max participants: 30

Max team size: 4

The Spec

We are currently feeding data from 5 monitoring stations across Bath into the city data store, updated every ~60 minutes. We also have historic readings going back to 2001.

Your mission is to wrangle these numbers into something useful, educational, informative or just plain fun related to the air around us.

If you know nothing about air quality metrics DEFRA has a guide to the numbers and how to present them.

Following these guidelines is NOT mandatory, but we do ask you to approach the statistics with care; they affect public health. (Translation: Visualisations that include mushroom clouds or dogs in gas masks probably won’t work.)


We’ve moved on a long way since our first hack and you’ll have a much easier time with the data. This will be our first live use of the city data store which you can use to download data in a range of formats. There are also built-in tools to visualise it, or you could go all show-offy and hook straight in via the API. (You read that right: We have endpoints.)

As always, the tools you use to complete the task are entirely up to you. Native app or website, pretty map, joyous visualisation or plain emoji – go crazy.

If it helps us understand the air we breathe, you can use it.


The Guild are hosting us again which means we’re guaranteed a classy hack.

You get comfy chairs, big desks, large screens, blistering connections and tea/coffee on tap. We’re also laying on burritos at lunchtime and copious free beer, cider and Red Bull for those in need of artificial stimulus.


Hacking will end strictly at 6pm. There will then be quick fire presentations by each team, lasting no longer than 5 minutes each. Big screen AV will be available (and encouraged).

Given the broad spec, we’ve decided to spread prizes widely. Teams can win one or more of the following categories:

  • Most Educational Project (£150) – Since air quality numbers aren’t pretty, this award goes to the team who best explains them.
  • Best Visualisation (£150) – To the team with eye candy factor who gets a “whoa” from the audience.
  • Best Mashup (£150) – Awarded to the team that best combines air quality data with additional data source/s.
  • Best Shipped Project (£150) – We love shippers. A live project available for public use is all you need to be eligible.
  • Best Overall Project (£400) – Awarded to the project that most impresses across one (or all) prize categories.

The judging will be ably handled by Robin Spalding (BANES Environmental Monitoring team), David Dixon (Deputy Leader of the Council and cabinet member for Neighbourhoods) and Tom Lewis, Director of The Guild CiC.

Early thank you…

Hugs and flowers go to Mark “The Chimp” Owen (and winner of our first hack) who has spent a ridiculous number of hours dragging data from the air quality monitors into the data store, helped manfully by David Rowe who proved to be the missing link in council IT. There would be no hack without you both. Thank you!

Ready? Book your seat now

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