Do you have SpaceAPI? | Hackaday


At Hackaday, we are privileged to be part of a global community of hackers, manufacturers, tech enthusiasts and creative people whose collective works make our daily news feeds so fascinating. We all meet you directly in the physical rather than virtual world at the many events across the community, or in the various hackerspaces we visit on our travels. But how do you keep track of the world of hackerspaces when there are so many? Maybe SpaceAPI could have the answer.

Many Hackaday staff are intimately involved with hackerspaces, whether as members, directors or even founders. This is something I have said over and over as I have shown potential members around Oxford Hackspace or MK Makerspace that decent sized cities around the world have hackerspaces, so within limits. reasonable, wherever you’re likely to walk out of an airport, there will be a bunch of us in a room full of tools and parts somewhere within reach.

There’s a whole world out there, if only you can find it

The world map. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

With so many hackerspaces around the world, it can be difficult to keep up with them all. This certainly has to be a headache for hackerspace directory maintainers, with newcomers as well as spaces unfortunately closing, meaning a directory may not be as current as its last update. For those of us who follow the hackerspace world professionally, it’s a struggle to stay in control, and we know there will always be this amazing project posted on a hackerspace website that misses out. we.

An easy way to spot an active space is to check their website or social media feeds. It’s a safe bet that since my space in Milton Keynes has a recent blog post, it’s an active space and (if pandemic rules allow) you will be able to show up at an open house and see the place (if you are visit MK please, and visit the National Museum of Computing while you are here!). But what about a space whose last activity dates back a year, or 18 months? Have they closed or are they just more concerned with managing a space than updating their website?

How SpaceAPI can help you and why you need it in your space

The RevSpace state switch
The RevSpace state switch. Holly Hudson (CC BY 2.0).

Here’s where SpaceAPI can help: By providing a standard JSON interface to space properties. This not only contains all the static details such as location and coordinates, but also the address of the space’s project repository, and more interestingly, an indication of whether or not the space is open. The JSON can be a static file, but in many spaces it is generated by the space itself depending on whether or not it contains someone.

The first hackerspace to have a SpaceAPI endpoint was RevSpace in The Hague, The Netherlands, and if you visit their website, you will see the current status as a banner on their logo. This and the status reported in their SpaceAPI endpoint is generated by a button in space that runs their automation systems and turns everything on, the idea being that opening and closing the space is done in space. pressing a single button. I stood in RevSpace and watched this happen, it’s one of those moments of life in the future that I’m sad to admit leaves us at home in MK a bit. Those of you who read Hackaday regularly may remember our report on the badge they created to mark their tenth anniversary, it uses SpaceAPI data to good effect to map spaces in the Netherlands in the form an array of LEDs.

SpaceAPI maintainers also publish a directory, from which a variety of visualizations and other projects pull their data. As of this writing, there are 179 hackerspaces on the list, mostly from Europe but with a few from further afield. If your space is not on the list yet, I would like to ask you to consider creating a SpaceAPI endpoint and submitting it to the directory. Why should you do this? Discoverability is the key to a successful hackerspace, this means that more potential members can find you and those interested in hackerspaces such as Hackaday scribes. Finding a space exists and that it is active is our daily life, and we believe that it can also be yours.

Header Image: Decennium badge from RevSpace, which uses SpaceAPI data for its visualization.

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