Simacan hackathon 2015

Simacan hacks the route

What do you get when you invite eighteen Simacan colleagues out to a holiday home? With sufficient food and drinks, board and computer games for two days? And you call this the Simacan Hackathon?

The developed concepts for data processing, traffic analysis and map visualizations come racing at you within 36 hours!

Friday – let’s start

Drone hackingIt all started with the invitation: 13-15 November is Hackathon weekend! The goal is to develop a concept. Within the work field of Simacan: traffic & logistics on the map. Immediately, long lists with ideas formed. A drone was bought. And tested during a Simacan game night.

Friday the 13th came. We travelled to our homestead in the province of Drenthe. Once there, we started pitching ideas. The best projects were chosen. Colleagues inspired to cooperate. Next, the laptops were set up and everyone’s creativity utilized to the max. Just as the internet connection.

Tracking trips in Control TowerMeanwhile, in the middle of the country… Martijn and Lotte departed after the closure of de ICT & Logistiek exhibition. Their trip from Utrecht to Drenthe was monitored by the hackers. The data from the connected Trucklink App was visible in Simacan Control Tower. The hackers saw the stop in Amersfoort to pick up a 4G modem. Unfortunately, the modem was not found.

The need for internet remained high. In the holiday home, the internet was set up for an average family. Surely not sufficient for Simacan! Despite our warning to download big files ahead. The course of a project cannot not be predicted. Another version of a program can be necessary. The quiet hours in the night were a good solution. Gigabytes of installation packages were downloaded.

Anyone who grew tired of hacking Friday night, plunged in a game of poker, Munchkin, or creating a gang of outrageous Mii characters.

Saturday – the results

Hackaton breakfastHacking continued after breakfast. Time flew coding analyzing, designing and deploying. In the afternoon, we presented each other the results. Each developed project more fascinating. Seeing what everyone had made was very inspiring. Practically all projects are usable in our daily business!

The Hackathon results roughly divide into three themes:

Data processing

  • GPU parallel processing with CUDA (Bart and Ruben)
  • Redshift and PostGIS (Jeroen S.)
  • Drone gimbal configuration (Felix and Jeroen V.)
  • DRIP manager for route information (Rob)

Traffic analysis

  • Time-distance diagrams with traffic jam forecasts (Paul)
  • Transport data analysis (Peter)
  • Google Analytics dashboards for tracking website visitors (Lotte)
  • Route comparison (Jeroen F.)

Map visualization

  • Open Street Map styling with Mapbox GL beta access (Martijn L. and Martijn S.)
  • Transport movements visualized on map (Albert, Edwin and Jonathan)
  • Traffic jams visualized on map (Jelle)
  • Mobile apps (Daniel and Hans)

Hackathon project presentationAfter all fascinating presentations, the outside grill was fired up. We enjoyed a chilling November BBQ. At the picnic tables, talking continued. About the Hackathon projects and life. Until the local cat decided dinner was over. By starting to clean the plates with its tongue. We decided to clear up. And warm up inside the house.

The departure of the first colleagues raised some chaos. Who wanted to stay longer or go home? The car arrangement was adjusted. More than half of us stayed. To play more Munchkins, Catan and Wii. A breakfast waited for those who stayed the night. When the last Sunday drivers left, the Simacan Hackathon ended. The good memories remain:

Filled with new inspiration, we are back at work. To put more traffic and logistics on the map!


Hackaton games

Notes for the next Simacan Hackathon:


  • complete trust in the location’s internet


  • coffee machine of equal outstanding quality
  • bigger accommodation, for all new Simacan colleagues