Hack days and hackathons seem to be all the rage, particularly in London. It’s great to see a growing number of them dedicated to using technology to help in conservation of the natural world too.
Just this week I’ve come across ZSL’s ‘Hack the Redlist’ event, and the London Climate Change Coders group, organised by Duncan from Friends of the Earth.
WWF are getting involved too. We’ve run one hackday before, which went pretty well, and in November we’re running a new one, dedicated to improving a mapping tool we’ve been building, called TradeMapper. It’s already being used by WWF and Traffic staff to analyse and visualise the routes of the illegal wildlife trade across the world, and we want to make it even better.
There are two reasons we decided to have a hackday. First is that we know there are creative and talented coders out there who might be up for helping us make TradeMapper better. Second is we’re making the code for the tool open source – meaning that anyone can take it and improve it or even make it do something else (like map something completely different to traded wildlife).
It’s a bit of an experiment for us, to see whether that approach to web development gives WWF more benefit than building things on our own or working with specialist developers.
So if you fancy trying your hand as a TradeMapperHacker, or you know someone who might, then let them know.