Toronto OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend

rweait's picture
happy hackers at 2013 Toronto OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend

The Toronto OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend or, more formally, The Second Annual Canadian OpenStreetMap Developer Weekend, was held from Friday, 08 March to Sunday, 10 March 2013 at various venues. And it was wonderful.

The Toronto OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend is winding down. It has been three days of coding, outreach and socializing.

The number of attendees varied across the three days, with a total of about 40 different people attending at one time or another.

As with the 2012 event, the event was hosted by members of the Toronto OpenStreetMap community, and Ryerson University.

Friday, community day

Friday saw three presentations at Ryerson. A large crowd of interested newcomers, GIS students and OpenStreetMap regulars attended the three talks that covered an Introduction to OpenStreetMap, Using OpenStreetMap data in QuantumGIS, and How to Contribute Data to OpenStreetMap. Questions were wide-ranging and discussion was lively. Each of the presentations went over their scheduled time slots, due to the motivated question and answer sessions. The presenters were also asking questions, so I don't think they minded the delays. Certainly the audience was well connected to the topics, and nobody left early.

Friday evening, was the official start of the social festivites of the Hack Weekend. Attendees adjourned to a local establishment for food and beverages. They were joined by more members of the local OpenStreetMap community. The entertainment progressed a little further to a private venue later in the evening for more refreshments and spirited and wide-ranging discussion.

Saturday, Hack day one

As with any other Hack Weekend, code was the word of the day for Saturday.

Introductions were made so that developers could learn about the skills and interests of the attendees who they hadn't met before. And then the software development began in earnest. Several developers hunkered down to work on their projects. A small group set to some planning on the chalkboard.

Dev Roulette

Serge, Martijn and Steve spent time on Map Roulette. The photo shows some of their planning on the blackboard, recording the decisions from planning discussions.

After a brief and delicious lunch break, development continued apace. The scheduled end of hack time arrived in what seemed like a few minutes and it was time for more social interaction. The group decamped for refreshments and conversation. Visiting developers were exposed to local cuisine. A good time was had by all.

Sunday, Hack day two

The Spring forward time change was anticipated with some trepidation. The professionals that are the OpenStreetMap development community shrugged off the long hours of talking over loud ambient noise levels in public houses, and the potentially higher than customary levels of refreshment, to start coding again bright and early on Sunday.

As is customary at OpenStreetMap Hack Weekends, Sunday had more typing; less talking. Development continued, with stretches of keyboard tap-tapping punctuated by quiet discussion.


Newcomers to OpenStreetMap arrived throughout the Hack Weekend. Both developer- and non-developer-newcomers were welcomed by the Toronto Hack Weekend attendees. The newcomers were offered coaching, and had their questions answered as required (when developers were able to break from their tasks to assist the newcomers). Several newcomers were able to make their first data contributions while attending the event.

Next time

Discussions about the next Toronto Hack weekend have already started. Do you want to be invovled? Let us know. Participate in an OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend in Toronto, or elsewhere.

A personal note

Thank you, so much, to the attendees of the Hack Weekend.
The clock on the wall tells me that we have less than two hours of official Hack time remaining. So back to coding and away from blogging for a bit. I suspect that there may be a final round of refreshements tonight before visiting developers have to wing their way home. This event has been a treat. Thanks for coming.