The CrateDB Data Challenge

Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter KitCrate are big fans of data. Big data, small data, open data. We want to see what you can do using the CrateDB, oodles of data, and the limitless power of your imagination.

Luckily for our happy hackers, a SQL database shouldn’t be too hard to integrate into most projects, letting us focus on judging entries that use CrateDB to build creative, compelling projects around interesting data. Libraries are available for Java, Python, Ruby, Go, etc. so choose your flavor.

We’ve put together some demo applications here to get you started! And you can also look for Jessica at the event to ask any questions.

As a prize we’ll be giving away awesome Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits



The Natural History Open Data Challenge

Setting the World’s Natural History Data Free

lysandra-coridon-butterflies-two-columnThe Natural History Museum in London is embarking on an epic journey to digitise 80 million specimens from one of the world’s most important natural history collections – documenting 4.5 billion years of life, the Earth and the solar system. Almost all animal, plant, mineral and fossil groups are represented.

Digitising the Museum’s collection will give the global scientific community access to unrivalled historical, geographic and taxonomic specimen data gathered in the last 250 years. We are committed to open access, open science, and open data.

nhm-data-portal-first-steps-toward-the-graphoflife-6-638Over the next five years we plan to digitise a quarter of the Museum’s specimens by establishing high-throughput digital capture workflows for all major collection types.

We have created an online Data Portal giving everyone in the world access to the specimen and lot-level data, and will develop flexible informatics and visualisation tools to analyse the data.

In our workshop on Friday the 25th at 15:30, on the Side Stage in the main building, we will be introducing you to our Data Portal and our open APIs. We will describe some of the digitisation challenges we face, and our desire to make this not only an indispensable source of data for researchers & scientists world wide, but also a source of information and knowledge for the amateur, the student, and the curious.

We will be showcasing our iCollections database in particular, and looking at what we can learn from it:

  • Do people collect specimens on nice days?
  • What was the collector who collected from the most distinct localities?
  • What can we learn about the collectors?
  • Are most specimens collected in rural areas? On a stroll through national parks?

Find out more about the Digital Collections Programme, and check out the Data Portal on GitHub.


The Natural History Open Data Challenge

We invite you to take a closer look at our iCollections data in particular, but feel free to explore of course!

At the moment the Data Portal is designed with fellow scientists in mind, but this information should be accessible for anyone, from school child to educator, from the curious to the amateur expert – from anywhere in the world.

  • How can this data be visualised in more interesting ways?
  • How can we make the interface more attractive to different audiences? 
  • What other queries can you think of?
  • Using the Data Portal APIs – what creative applications can come out of this data-set?
  • What other APIs would you be interested in seeing developed?
  • How can this data truly go mobile?

With thanks to our Sponsor

synthesysThis session and Hackathon Challenge are supported by the EC-funded SYNTHESYS project, which encompasses a wide range of natural history collections across all of Europe.

SYNTHESYS is Hackathon Sponsor of OTA16

We’re thrilled to announce that SYNTHESYS is sponsoring the Over the Air Hackathon this year, as well as running the Natural History Open Data Challenge.


SYNTHESYS is an EC-funded project, of which the Natural History Museum in London is one of the 20 members, to create an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections. It’s activities include funding short research visits to selected natural history collections and herbaria within Europe, developing virtual collections improve the quality of and increase access to digital collections and data within natural history institutions by developing virtual collections.

nhm-data-portal-first-steps-toward-the-graphoflife-6-638The Natural History Museum in London is committed to open access and open science, and has launched the Data Portal to make its research and collections datasets available online. It allows anyone to explore, download and reuse the data for their own research.

Our natural history collection is one of the most important in the world, documenting 4.5 billion years of life, the Earth and the solar system. Almost all animal, plant, mineral and fossil groups are represented – and we’re inviting you to get involved!

To find out more, come join our Workshop Session on Friday at 15:30 in the Marquee, watch our Lightning Talk at 19:00 in the Main Hall, and enter our Hackathon Challenge!

One day to go!!

We hope you’re as excited as we are!

We’ve seen many new registrations role in over the past two days, so you may have missed some of our messages from the registration platform.

Here is some information that you’ll need as you’re starting to prepare for tomorrow:

1. Check out your travel route to the event. St. John’s Hoxton is at the junction of New North Rd and Pitfield St, a short walk from Old St or Hoxton tube stations, and close to the 271 and 394 bus routes. If you’re driving, the post code is N1 6NP, and you can book parking on the premises for £11 per day.

2. Check out your travel times. We’re opening up registration bright and early at 8:30(there’ll be coffee and tea, plus lots of great local caffs for a take-away), and the whole thing kicks off at 10:00. The Lightning Talks should be finished by around 8:30 or 9:00 if you’re catching a train back – but we hope that you’ll stay overnight with us at the venue! Saturday morning also kicks off at 10:00.

3. Pack your overnight gear. That’s right, you’re welcome to stay with us over night! There is lots of room on the grassy grounds for camping, or roll out your sleeping bag in a cozy corner of the main building (where there will also be a female-only space available). Don’t forget your toothbrush.

OTA09 t-shirt4. Pack you chargers, memory cards, laptop, hackable devices, prototyping kit, LEDs, Sugru, drones, nerd-cred t-shirts, emergency chocolate bars, stickers to give away… maybe pre-download a few handy libraries while you’re at it.

5. Bring your own lanyard and show us all of the cool events you’ve been to lately (while also showing us your name).

6. Check out the programme on Lanyrd and build your own schedule by selecting ‘Plan to Attend’ or ‘Track’. While you’re at it, let other folks know you’re going by marking yourself as ‘Attending’ .

7. Have a read through of this year’s Hackathon Challenges for some inspiration and ideas about what you might hack.

8. Toss around some ideas with others by joining the conversation on Slackline.

9. Have a quick read of our Hack Day Code of Conduct. We know it’s clear but it is very worth mentioning one more time – ALL are welcome at Over the Air!

10. Get some sleep tonight! …you might not tomorrow 🙂


See you soon!

Margaret & Dan

Google is Friday Lunch Sponsor of OTA16

Google_Developers_logoWe’re thrilled to announce that the lovely team over at Google are sponsoring Over the Air for the third time in a row, check and taking care of Friday Lunch!

Rupert Whitehead, cialis Developer Relations Programs manager, generic told us

“We’re happy to partner with Over the Air and look forward to seeing more successful mobile developers on Android, iOS and the web. Check out Google’s guidelines for multi-screen development with Web Fundamentals, explore developing for the physical web and find more great resources here.”

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google+ is the social layer that brings together all of Google’s products to make sharing easier and more nuanced. Find out how developers can tap into this platform at: Google’s cloud platform offers incredible scale and performance using the same infrastructure as the rest of Google which makes it a great fit for mobile developers. Find out more at:

Sigfox is Saturday Lunch Sponsor of OTA16

sigfoxWe are thrilled to announce that Sigfox is sponsoring Saturday Lunch at Over the Air. Sigfox is a communication solution that enables real world objects to have a voice, thanks to our dedicated IoT network. Sigfox enables developers to retrieve data from sensors and objects via simple and easy to use cloud service (Callbacks and REST API).

Sigfox provides an inexpensive, reliable and low power solution for the Internet of Things. It works give makers, developers and startups the power to connect their projects from the physical world up to the digital. Find out more at

“At Sigfox, we’re makers through and through – Over the Air 2016 embodies everything that is the maker spirit and we’re excited to see all of the awesome projects and workshops taking place this year. We’re bringing along some Sigfox enabled Dev Kits for makers to ‘bring their ideas to life’, so visit our workshop to get started connecting your projects! Look out for us across the weekend and come chat to us about your projects, ideas or anything else!” – Alex Bucknall, Developer Evangelist at Sigfox

decoded:Legal is Bean Bag Sponsor of OTA16

Hacking & Bean BagsWith huge thanks to decoded:Legal, doctor OTA16 can haz Bean Bags!

decoded:Legal is a specialist English law firm, helping Internet, telecoms, technology and healthcare start-ups and businesses achieve their commercial goals, and navigate often complex regulatory environments.

“We help clients, from small start-ups to huge companies, do cool things with technology across a wide range of industries, including Internet and communications services, drones, 3D printing, and a whole range of apps and services.You can find us on the conventional web ( and on TOR (expvqqiv2z5ekf47.onion).”



Running OTA16 on an ‘austerity’ budget

2016 has certainly been an interesting year – possibly the most glued-to-the-news that we’ve ever been, and huge divisions exposed across western society.  An excellent time for us to come together in a celebration of what we can achieve when we share knowledge and collaborate on fresh ideas for a shared future.

But it has been a year of changes in the mobile industry as well, with many reorganisations taking place, and tactical changes to how companies approach developer relations and outreach. Many of our supporters over 9 years of Over the Air have been faced with budget cuts, stretched teams, and major layoffs… necessitating our move to a new date from the original plans for September.

Winning a few more months to plan the event has unfortunately not had much of an impact on the financial picture – even with the help of all of you lovely people who have chipped in a fiver. We now find ourselves running an ‘austerity’ budget, and are having to get mighty creative on where we can save a quid or two.

Can you organisation support us?

At the moment we are particularly looking for two Lunch Sponsors – without whom we’re going to have to ask everyone to brown-bag it for the two days. We don’t have enough money for a second Marquee, and we also don’t have money for Bean Bags.

Here’s what the budget looks like – we are currently £5k short of the ULTRA minimum budget.

Item Incurred Ideal Budget Min Budget ULTRA Min
Runners, 2 day shifts £520.00 £260.00 £260.00
Event Mgr £1,080.00 £1,080.00 £1,080.00
Lead Runner £630.00 £480.00 £480.00
Code AV £9,043.00 £9,043.00 £5,000.00
Accountant £800.00 £800.00 £800.00
Printing £200.00 £0.00 £0.00
Bean Bags £3,700.00 £1,890.00 £0.00
Vehicle hire £85.00 £85.00 £85.00
Insurance £500.00 £0.00 £0.00
Groceries (Beer, Wine, Soft Drinks, Coffee, Tea) £3,000.00 £2,000.00 £1,000.00
Ticket Payment System £12.89 £12.89 £12.89 £12.89
Wifi  £500 £3,500.00 £2,000.00 £1,500.00
VenueHire £10,000.00 £10,000.00 £7,000.00
Marquee hire £4,000.00 £4,000.00 £0.00
Catering £6,725.00 £5,000.00 £3,000.00
Container Rental £900.00 £900.00 £900.00
Corporate Tax £2,000.00 £2,000.00 £2,000.00
VAT due Q2 £2,310.00 £2,310.00 £2,310.00 £2,310.00
VAT Q3/ Q4 £7,000.00 £3,000.00 £3,000.00
Cleaner £280.00 £280.00 £280.00
Parcelforce 17.22 £17.22 £17.22 £17.22
Security £500.00 £500.00 £500.00
Sollicitors £960.00 £960.00 £960.00 £960.00
Total £3,800.11 £57,763.11 £46,618.11 £30,185.11

How does that compare to previous years? In 2015 our budget was £67,870.90 and the last year at Bletchley Park our budget was £100,826.12

Can you be our hero? Then please contact


Twitter is Coffee & Tea Sponsor of OTA16

Twitter_logo_blueWe’re pleased to let you know that the 8th edition of Over the Air will be fully caffeinated, thanks to the sponsorship of the lovely team over at Twitter.  Find out more about their tools for Devs here:

The @TwitterDev team is once again pleased to partner with OTA. Twitter was born on mobile, and we know what it takes to design, release, and grow a great mobile app. Fabric was crafted with both power and ease-of-use in mind – it’s our modular mobile platform which makes it easy for developers to build the best apps. Fabric combines the services of Crashlytics, MoPub, Twitter and others to address some of the most common and pervasive challenges that all apptwitt developers face: stability, distribution, revenue and identity.

A big thank-you to Nexmo & Mozilla

As many of you know, we had originally scheduled OTA16 for this coming Friday and Saturday. These past few days the weather has been stunning, which would have made for a fabulous OTA16, in the spirit of our first year at Bletchley Park – which was gorgeous weather. But with thunder-showers forecast for all day tomorrow, I think we might have gotten lucky on this one!

As it turned out, events transpired against us, and we had to move the dates back to later in the year – namely, the 25th & 26th of November (space heater order for the Marquees- check!).

Upon biting the bullet to make this move, we promptly (finally!!) opened up registration, which is ticking along very nicely, and it’s already shaping up to be a great turnout.

But it’s not just you, our community of participants, who are moving with us to this new date. We also owe a HUGE thank-you to our first sponsors of OTA16 – Nexmo and Mozilla – for moving with us, and continuing to support us as we gear up for the event in November.

Phil Leggetter of Nexmo tells us:

We’re really looking forward to being involved in Over the Air 2016. OTA aligns with our ethos to work with existing communities, and our drive to innovate.

We believe that the strong mutual relationships we build by working with others enables us to help developer communities, and capture highly valuable feedback from innovators and builders. This gives the Developer Relations team at Nexmo the opportunity to ensure that our products – such as the recently released Voice API – offer a great developer experience and solve real problems.

We can’t wait for the 25th of November; the talks, the hacks and most importantly, the people. See you there.