During the weekend at FACT Liverpool, I attended Hacks and Hackers delivered as part of Abandon Normal Devices festival by #media2012 and Scraperwiki.

The workshop explored collating data from the web, online docs, archives etc. And displaying content scraped in graphs or layered on for example Google Maps and how these could be used to generate news stories e.g on the #media2012 website.

My team explored the Olympic Route Network and small businesses that will be affected by the enforcements along these designated roads, which would be closed to allow for delegates, olympicians and corporates to travel from venues, training and accommodation during the Olympic and Paralympic games. As part of our pitch, we included archives of changes during this legislation, using Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games as a case study and creating a layered map showing key information on population density, average household income and traffic. (This won us first place). We found out that there was no map currently available online showing these lanes running through London, one we did find as a pdf doc was inaccurate because changes to proposed routes had been changed, Olympic Route Network act 2006.

Having the disposal of a hacker (someone who can code) using data scraped from pdfs and web pages to display researched firgures into tables, graphs, etc has the potential of creating interesting and what can sometime be obscure information on the web – one example given yesterday was a map created using scraped web data showing where people had been drilling for oil areas were plotted all over Crosby and Formby (North from Liverpool).

Benefits of Scraperwiki to help research and discover a foundation which to build a story and could even be used for independent research in an academic sense, collation of information that doesn’t currently already exist.

Finally, AND fest is a celebration of new cinema, digital culture and art. Quite disappointed I wasn’t able to see more, hopefully next year – which I’m informed will possibly be hosted in Manchester.

Yesterday I spoke to Jennifer Jones and Stuart Hepburn about running a similar event here in Scotland, proposed date is early December – awaiting the proposal and #culturalhack could take place. Updates to follow.

Images below were taken across the day by Prof. Andy Miah.

Featured image, taken by Andy Miah released on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence.

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