Yorkshire Water hosts latest hackathon at sustainability conference

The finest minds in data gathered in Leeds recently for a hackathon hosted by Yorkshire Water in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI) to create an impact dashboard for Yorkshire.

The teams created prototypes exploring environmental and social issues in the region, using apps, maps and dashboards to discover risks and opportunities, link up problems with solutions, and enable users to take positive action for themselves and others.

The hackathon took place at Yorkshire Water’s recent sustainability conference in Leeds, which explored the ‘Six Capitals’ concept that helps organisations make more sustainable decisions by thinking beyond traditional financial balance sheets.  Taking part were data scientists, programmers and coders, all exploring flooding, climate change and social issues.

Various data sets were analysed during the hackathon including:

• A data set for digital flood management from the Environment Agency to help predict flood risk at a hyper-local level.

• Climate campaigners, ‘Our Future Leeds’, interrogated data on the city’s carbon emissions and the countdown towards Leeds City Council’s net zero by 2030 target.

• Yorkshire Water data provided insight into green spaces and air quality.

• Data from Plusnet exploring how broadband and mobile signal strength can have an impact on loneliness and social isolation.

Hannah James, lead advisor for sustainability at Yorkshire Water, said: “The hackathon was a great incubator for ideas and has produced some really valuable insights for us and for other organisations in the region. We plan to release more and more operational data and hosting a hackathon is a great way to assess our impact and help find ways of addressing a number of issues such as climate change and flooding.”

Paul Connell, Founder and Head of Innovation at the ODI, said: “This was an inspirational and important event. The challenge is massive – how do we measure the societal and economic impact of all our activities across the region?

“All of the teams made massive progress with the data and their projects, and built working prototypes, created new connections and capability within their own organisations and made new friends.”

You can find the outputs from the Hackathon here.