The ycitesee Hackathon was a one day hack held at the Innovation Warehouse in London, Saturday 10 August. Themed around travel hacks, Pearson made both the Eyewitness Guide APIs and the Travel APIs available for the hackers to try and create inventive uses of the APIs.
The event was organized by Ekua Boateng and her team, who did a fantastic job and providing the facilities and amenities to help make this a successful hack day (there was lots of food and drink !!). Although the attendance was a little limited, the atmosphere generated and the developers attending helped to make this a great hack - the end results were in excess of any expectations !
Hackers started arriving at around 10am, greeted with drinks and breakfast. All the hackers seemed to have their teams sorted out, with a few hackers opting to 'go it alone'. After a brief welcome and introduction, everyone got started on the hacking at 11:00am - it was going to be a busy day, as they only had until 7:30pm to get their hacks ready for judging !
Despite everyone concentrating on their work, there was plenty of conversation going on, with help provided where needed, and the resident cat wandering around, giving an amusing distraction when a break was needed ! The hackers worked continually through the day, with only brief interruptions for lunch and dinner (both of which were extreemly good !!)
Unsurprisingly, the 7:30pm deadline came around all to quickly, and with a last burst of activity, all the hacks were completed and made ready for their presentations.
So, without further ado, here were the hacks:
The World's Eye
Taking geo-location information from the EyeWitness APIs, this hack provided high quality maps to allow the searching of locations based on their categories. Not only this, but it was implemented as 9 separate apps, one for each of the EyeWitness guides provided by the Pearson APIs. Authored by one of the developers behind Clickslide, it was an impressive demonstration of how one developer could generate a set of native iOS applications in one day. Very cool.
An itinerary based hack that used the EyeWitness APIs to create a travel itinerary of places to visit. Allowing searching for places by categories, the user could build up their itinerary, and then share this with their friends to allow additions and modifications - sort of like a roadtrip app ! The author was looking at how a 'github' style model could be used to allow the sharing and storing of itineraries between friends. Again, the work of a single developer, this hack showed a great deal of design skill, being available as both a webapp and mobile app.
Itinerary based hacks seemed to dominate, but Quiet Time had a really nice twist. While the basics of building an itinerary were there, this was focused on finding 'quiet times' for places. By hooking into the EyeWitness API and Twitter, some clever algorithms were used to generate an itinerary of nearby places that were deemed to be 'quiet'. The itinerary was then displayed on both a map and as an itinerary.
The team behind Autinary also created an itinerary based hack. By selecting the dates for the travel, and selecting the categories of interest, the hack would automatically create a random itinerary, generating 'time-slots' so that users would know what and when they would be doing things. Content was taken from the EyeWitness API, providing a very visual itinerary, with the ability to use maps to 'navigate' to each item in the list. A nice feature was the ability to 'refresh' you itinerary to get a completely new listing !
Plan With Friends
Last, but by no means least, Plan with Friends utilized the EyeWitness APIs to provide (you guessed it) an itinerary planner. But, as with all the hacks, there was again a nice twist here. But utilizing the 'meteor' framework, this hack aimed to allow for a collaborative style of itinerary planning, with many people working and commenting on a single itinerary at once. It was particularly impressive as there was only a single developer working on the hack, and this was his first exposure to the meteor framework.
And the winner is...
Given the quality and inventiveness of the Travel hacks generated, it was a really hard task to select a winner for the day - all the hacks merited praise, and the judges were genuinely surprised at the breadth and quality achieved in a single day ! But the judging panel had to come up with a winner, so here are the results;
In third place, MyTrip. Providing a great design, and targeting both web and mobile, it was a deserving prize winner.
In second place, Autinerary. Again, great design, the judging panel really like the way the travel itineraries were generated.
An the winner is.....Quiet Time. A really clever twist on generating itineraries, great execution of the hack and we could see a future for such an app.
Congratulations to both the winners and all those that took part - what the Hackathon might have lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in the quality and ingenuity of the hacks produced in such a short time.
We would also express our congratulations and thanks to the ycitesee team for their work in organising the event - I think all the attendees would agree it was a great success, and the quality of the output from this event was a testament to the hard work put in by Ekua and her team.