2022 – In review

As the year draws to a close, and we start to make plans for next year’s activity, we also take the opportunity look backwards over the current year. This has seen us move from wholly online events, due to the pandemic, back to physical – or rather hybrid – sessions. In addition to our statutory report to OSCR which we will file soon, we also want to look at what our community has achieved over the year.

It’s clear to us, as it has been since our inception in 2014, that the success of our activity is at least as much attributable to those who attend and give their time as it is to our board’s oversight and leadership. We can run as many events as we are comfortable with but unless our supporters turn out, get involved, participate in activities and support each other, the impact will be minimal. That’s why as we recover from the pandemic and enforced distance from each other, it’s essential that we all make more of an effort to attend, to take part, and to donate our time, skills and knowledge to make a difference to local society.

We’re now firmly back at ONE Tech Hub (OTH) which is a great venue. We’re really grateful to Opportunity North East for the sponsorship in kind which they give by allowing us to host our events there.

Hack Weekends

We planned four events this year and ending up running three. While the numbers of attendees full justified running those three, they are well down on pre-pandemic numbers. This something we are keen to understand.

CTC25 – Creating and sharing openly

We started this year’s hack events in February with an online event. This hackathon attracted 19 people on day one and 13 on day two. They participated in four projects. The event page has links to the final presentation videos for each as well as to Github repos.

CTC26 – A new reality

This weekend in May saw 13 attendees on Saturday and 11 on Sunday attend the sessions. The physical event was back at ONE Tech Hub. We had three initial projects reducing to two. Please see the event homepage for more details.

CTC27 – Education

With 21 and 16 attendees respectively on Saturday and Sunday, this physical event felt like we were bouncing back from the pandemic. The attendees worked on four projects, which are captured in this YouTube playlist.

CTC28 – Connections

We had high hopes after CTC27 with numbers climbing from last year’s pandemic events and restricted attendances. But we were baffled why signups for CTC28 remained stubbornly low just a week before the event. Please let us now your views. We’d promoted it through the usual channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, several Slack groups, Mastodon and our newsletter as well as third-party sites. With just a handful of committed participants we took the decision to postpone it to March 2023. It was also doubly disappointing as we had just secured sponsorship from Converged Communication Solutions Ltd to covering catering costs. We’re so grateful to Neil and his colleagues there. And we’ll carry that sponsorship over to the first event of 2023.

Aberdeen Python User Group

The group held nine sessions this year, all bar one of those were at OTH all with good attendee levels and varying topics from guest or member speakers. We’ve been without a sponsor all year which is eating into CTC funds as we subsidise catering costs. If you know of a local tech company who may be interested in sponsoring the event please get in touch!


The third annual Scottish Open Data Unconference took place in November. This was the first physical manifestation as both the predecessors were forced online. While the number of attendees was lower than we’d aimed for (21 on the Saturday and 16 on the Sunday) we still saw 31 sessions run over the two days. You can download a PDF of notes from all sessions. One outcome was a statement which we issued following the weekend, setting out the importance of Open Data (OD), the current state of OD in Scotland, and what civic society needs from Government and other sectors to flourish as well as it does in other countries.

Aberdeen Data Meetups

The last of our formats to return post-pandemic were the ADM sessions. These are expensive to run and are heavily dependent on sponsorship to cover catering costs and more. We’re grateful to The Data Lab and ScotlandIS for their financial generosity and to ONE for their providing such as welcoming, friendly and professional space. The sessions re-started in October with the ever-popular showcase of MSc students projects over the summer, and continued for the rest of the year.


We had two changes to our board in November. Pauline Cairns who has been with us for a year stepped down with our thanks and best wishes for the future. Pauline had led some great work with RGU students and she will be missed!

We were also joined on the board by Jack Gilmore. Jack has been almost a permanent fixture at our events especially in the Open Data Scotland project which he has led with fellow-Trustee Karen Jewell. We’re looking forward to Jack’s input and energy in moving the charity on!


The Open Data Scotland project (born at a previous SODU event and developed over 4 or 5 hack weekends) saw three short-listings at the Open UK awards which took place on 31 November at the House of Lords.

The project was shortlisted in the Open Software category (against BBC R&D and another nominee!). Karen Jewell was short-listed for the Individual category for her work on ODS, and Jack Gilmore was shortlisted – and won!! – in the Young Person category. Well done, Jack and to Karen and all developers who have contributed so far to the project!

The year ahead

Thanks to all who turned out this year, got stuck into projects, volunteered to speak, or shared their enthusiasm and knowledge. You’re all heroes!

We look forward to a busy 2023. We’ll have the full complement of event formats to get involved in. We will welcome familiar faces back and new ones who come along for the first time. We couldn’t do it without you all! Have a great break over the festive season and see you in the New Year.

2021 – A Year in review

The continued running of hack weekends as online events due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation resulted in the widening of our attendee audience beyond Aberdeen. This saw attendance across the length and breadth of the UK and international attendees from the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. These international attendees contributed to projects that had the potential to benefit the citizens of Aberdeen that our remit looks to support. This demonstrated that our message and vision is spreading beyond our traditional geographical base. However our attendance numbers for online-only events have dwindled compared to those held in physical spaces and we look forward to moving to hybrid events as soon as we can. 

We’ve supported the creation and initial deployment of two significant infrastructural projects: Open Data Scotland and Open Waste UK both of which will fill large gaps in society’s access to data about government.

We recently appointed two new trustees, Pauline Cairns and Karen Jewell who are already injecting additional enthusiasm and energy into our operations.


CTC22: The Environment

Online – 20-21 Mar 2021

Event page

Key projects:

  • Bioregional Dashboards
  • Waste Wizards
  • Meet Your Next MSP

Notable Outcomes:

  • The website  https://openwastemap.uk was launched. This was underpinned by Open Streetmap data and 922 HWRCs which had been added to WIkidata. 
  • The Bioregion Dashboard team worked to make it easier for anyone to make a dashboard for their own area. 

CTC23: The Future of the City

12-13 Jun 2021

Event page

Key projects:

Notable Outcomes:

  •  The first steps taken to catalogue open data from local authorities in Scotland. Scripts written to gather data from council open data portals and GIS publishing platforms. Analysis of the status quo were performed. 
  • Prototyping of a sound map of Aberdeen.

CTC24: Open in Practice 

Online – 27/8 Nov 2021

Event page

Key projects:

Notable Outcomes:

Impact from pre-2021 Events

2021 saw the continuation of several projects that had been initiated at CTC events from previous years, a perfect demonstration of how CTC has a lasting positive impact.

Harbour Arrivals Transcriptions

During 2020 the Harbour Arrivals physical records for the period 1914 to 1920 were transcribed into a spreadsheet with a website built to make the data open for anyone to explore and use. In 2021 a data story was created focusing on the type of ships coming into the harbour from various ports, the imports to sustain the region, and the comments recorded by harbour staff.

SODU 2021

The second iteration the Scottish Open Data Unconference

2-3 Oct 2021

Event page

Key items:

  • While we had great engagement from civic society once again, there was poor showing from Government at all levels, Academia and Journalism.
  • Good news stories in Open Data
  • Attendees from overseas and across UK
  • Demonstration of Data Commons Scotland project

Notable Outcomes:

  •  A plan to take forward a number of existing open data projects including
    • Open Data Scotland
    • Wikidata representation of government in Scotland

Python Aberdeen

We held 11 Aberdeen Python User Group sessions over the last year with 10 speakers and a total of 240 attendees.

Non-event Based Achievements

Intern Project – Summer 2021

We took on our first intern this summer. Sara, a post-grad student from Edinburgh University worked with our trustee Ian, a group of volunteer transcribers, and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives to open up data and images from the Aberdeen Register of Returned Convicts 1869 to 1939. This resulted in structured open data for 248 convicts being made available, as well as 59 images of them being licenced for reuse. You can read more on the project page.

Award nominations

For the second year running Ian received an honourable mention in the UK Wikimedian of the Year awards.

Code The City were delighted to be nominated in the Data category at the Open UK awards in November 2021. Unfortunately we were runners up to OKFN

Looking ahead

2022 will see a renewed strategy and business plan for CTC. We will return to Hybrid events as soon as we can safely do so. We will continue to support and build on projects such as Open Data Scotland. We will look at hosting one or more interns again this year. We will continue to seek to better commitment from government on the provision of open data – and get participation in events such as SODU.

Thank you

Thanks to all of our attendees, supporters, volunteers and interns who make our events so successful and impactful. We wish you a quiet and restful festive season and look forward to working with you again in the new year.

Ian, Karen, Bruce, Pauline and Andrew

Header Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash