The Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) hosted a hackathon at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, June 12-14, to collaboratively design and develop software supporting the activities of information managers and scientists working with environmental data. We used the Open Space Technology approach to guide project development and gained valuable insights into hosting a successful hackathon from Deborah Paul and Mathew Collins of iDigBio.
Day 1 of the hackathon began with personal introductions and project pitches from each of the participants. These pitches provided a foundation from which the final set of projects grew. After a little coffee and socializing, we explored common themes among pitched projects and began coalescing into a few large projects around which software design and development would center. The resultant 3 projects centered around ingestion of formatted data, quality control and quality assurance, and the myriad of issues encountered when trying to resolve taxonomy data to a taxonomic authority. The remainder of day 1 was spent designing the workflows and list of supporting functions each project would be comprised of.
Day 2 began with a little more design work and communication between projects to ensure interoperability. Not long after, and coinciding with another coffee injection, software development commenced and continued through the days remainder with plenty of enthusiasm and humor.
The third and final day of the hackathon was split between software development and project documentation. What was not developed was documented into a project roadmap and a set of issues logged in the GitHub repositories of each project. A contact was established for each project, and each project team expressed commitment to continued software development.
All hackathon projects were listed in the Information Management Code Registry (IMCR), a new resource for environmental data users in need of information management software solutions, and a place for software developers to share related work with others. The IMCR is implemented in OntoSoft, which is an intelligent system to help scientists to share their code and make it more reusable, Additionally noteworthy is that the IMCR is apart of the Earth and Science Information Partnership (ESIP) and has regular meetings the first Wednesday of each month at 14:00 EST to discuss software projects, community needs, and future efforts. Stop by the IMCR wiki for news, events, meeting minutes, the mailing list, and teleconferences. Hope to see you there!