ViDIA Logos Vanhacks
October, 2017
Tickets on sale soon


VanHacks is an annual hackathon organized by ViDIA dedicated to helping those helping our community. We call you, hackers of Vancouver, to join us over a weekend to create tech solutions that solve challenging issues faced by our community's not-for-profit institutions whose aim is to do social good. With your help, we can work towards building a better, more unified Vancouver.

VanHacks is designed around the mantra of acting local and thinking global. All hacks are encouraged to be published open source so that an organization in Vancouver can benefit just as much as a similar nonprofit on the other side of Canada or the other side of the World.


The hackathon will build solutions to help these five Vancouver organizations do social good.

We are currently calling for nominations for the non-profits we will serve. In order to nominate a local Vancouver group please click here.

Rules for entry:

1. Nominee must be a Vancouver-based, non-profit organization.

2. Nominated company must be able to send an ambassador to work with VanHacks to help tell their story.

3. Submission deadline: Sept 15th 2017

4. Winners will be announced: Sept 25th 2017


  • Friday - October

    6:00 PM

    Team Formation Social


    If you are already on a team, this event is optional. Those not on a team are required to come and learn each other's challenge ideas and form teams.

  • Saturday - October

    8:00 am

    Participant Registration

    @BC Tech Association

    Each participant will check-in at the entrance. Information on how to set up and make themselves at home will be provided.

  • 9:00 am


    Participants will be informed of the challenges for the hackathon, available APIs to work with, what kind of applications they are expected to realize, sponsors, judges, judging criteria, mentors, rules and any other information.

  • 10:00 am


    The challenge begins! Vanhacks will come around and register teams and their chosen challenge. Mentors will be available throughout most of the hackathon to lend advice on how to tackle problems. .

  • 1:00 pm


    Lunch will be served between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 7:00 pm


    Dinner is served between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • Sunday - October

    8:00 am


    Breakfast will be served between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 12:00 PM


    Lunch is served between 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 2:00 PM


    With around 20 teams participating, each demo will be limited to 3 minutes.

  • 5:00 PM


    Winners are announced and presented with prizes: Prizes to be determined.


Founding Sponsors
Community Sponsors
Dynamic Leap Logo Logo
Two Tall Totems Logo


Judges to be announced soon


Samya Al Rahmani Profile Pic

Tiffany Chester


Alexandra Gunn Profile Pic

Alexandra Gunn


Chris Hobbs Profile Pic

Chris Hobbs

Master of Ceremonies

Pauline Lee Profile Pic

Pauline Lee





Online registration ends at 9 AM on October, 2017 or when maximum event capacity is reached. Capacity is 125 participants.


Teams may be composed of minimum 3 and a maximum 5 participants.


Participants may arrive with a pre-established team. Time will be provided on Friday night for solo participants to form teams. People are expected to know their teams by Saturday morning when they register them at 8:00 am. You will be required to select a team name and designate a team spokesperson. Individuals may only participate and register with one team. Each team is solely responsible for its own cooperation and teamwork.


Teams may begin working at 10 AM on October until demo time at 2 PM on October. All technical designs, developed code, and production assets for each entry must be created during the VanHacks event.


Participants are expected to bring the necessary hardware and software tools to build their competition entry. Teams are permitted to use open source tools and/or code.


All solutions must be developed during the course of VanHacks. Development occurs between the start and end times of the hack. Participants may consult remote resources via mobile phone, VoIP, chat, etc., to answer technical questions, but remote resources (such as outside people sending code) are not allowed to develop or produce assets used in competition entries.


To ensure a level playing field for all contestants, all code, design, art, music, SFX, and assets must be created during the duration of VanHacks. We want to ensure that all participants start off on the same footing and preserve the true nature of a hackathon. You are, however, free to make plans, create wireframes, and brainstorm prior to the event.


VanHacks is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience (or lack of any of the aforementioned). We do not tolerate harassment of VanHacks participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate at VanHacks. VanHacks participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the hackathon without a refund at the discretion of VanHacks organizers.


Ownsership of the solution created by participants for VanHacks is owned by the participants and the not-for-profit institution they hacked for. ViDIA & Sponsors do NOT have any rights to code created during VanHacks.


VanHacks judges will award 5 points to each project that is licensed as open source. This is done in the spirit of "Act Local, Think Global..." where as a local organization such as the Vancouver Food Bank may have similar challenges as the Calgary Food Bank. By open sourcing the projects we extend the usefullness of the code to the rest of the world.


A judging panel of community personalities from a range of industries will score competitors on innovation, design, quality and impact. Teams will have a maximum of 3 minutes to present and demonstrate their prototype to the judging panel. The winning team will be announced on-site at 5:00 PM on October. A maximum one entry per team may be submitted. ViDIA is not responsible for any dispute regarding prize dispersal or use.


By participating as a competitor in VanHacks, participants grant organizers and participating members of the media rights to publicly disclose competition event information, review and describe applications developed and presented during the event, and rights to display event- related photos, screen shots, and links to publicly available demonstrations of contest entries. Participants may be photographed and/or videotaped during the Hackathon event. Participants agree that ViDIA and VanHacks Sponsors may use any photographs or videos obtained in this manner for promotional purposes, during or after the hackathon, in any media.


Functional demos of the solution must be done live and not through a powerpoint or prototype presentation.


VanHacks reserves the right to make rule modifications prior to the start of the event. By participating each team member agrees to abide by these Official Rules.


Do I need to be a developer to attend?

To be a participant you need to be either a developer or a UI/UX designer.

Do I need a team to register?

No you don't need to be part of a team to register. We will be hosting a Friday night social at TBD where team-less participants must attend to meet and form teams. On Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, we will officially register all the teams.

What should I bring?

Generally, you’ll need to bring your computer, a charger and any other devices that will contribute to the application's creation. On top of that, you can bring things like a towel, a toothbrush, deodorant, a pillow and a blanket. As for food, we have you covered but if you want anything in particular there is a kitchen to make tea and prepare small bites.

How does VanHacks work?

Participants spend 28 hours working in teams of 3-5 people to build an application that will benefit groups from the Vancouver community. We will introduce not-for-profit groups to participants, on the website and in more detail at the hackathon, and the challenges these groups have. It is up to the participants to take these challenges and find ways to solve them through the applications they build over the weekend. In addition, mentors will be present to guide and advice participants on any difficulties they have when designing or building their applications. At the end of the 28 hours, each team will demo their working application to a panel of judges. The judges will then choose the top three projects.

Will there be a resource guide with helpful links to APIs, SDKs and datasets?

Yes. Here is the VanHacks API and SDK Resource Guide.

When is the last day to register for VanHacks?

The closing date for registration is October, 2017 or whenever we reach capacity. Capacity is 125 people.

How much is it to register?

Tickets are $50 each. If you purchase your ticket before Oct 1, you can apply the early bird code: gets-the-worm and save $15.

What are the judging criteria?

At the end of the 28 hours, you should have a working application that can be demoed in front of the judges. Projects will be judged on how well the application solves the chosen problem and how well the solution works at demo time. A list of criteria will be given at the beginning of the hackacthon to help keep hackers on track. Extra points are given to those who agree to open source their project after the hackathon.

Will there be prizes?

Yes there will be cash prizes. Amounts to be determined

At the end of VanHacks, do we give our projects to the not-for-profit organisation we choose to hack for?

Yes. At the end of the hackathon, you give a copy to the organization or upload it to a repo, like github, for them to download.

How do I find a team?

If you are coming in solo and want to work with others, our Friday social is a great opportunity to meet other designers and developers and form teams. Our goal is to have everyone on a team by the end of Friday night so we can quickly register the teams on Saturday morning.

Do I have to come Friday?

If you do not have a team. Yes. If you do have a team, the Friday social is the only optional part of the weekend. The social will allow you to get more familiar with the not-for-profit organization challenges that need solving. It will also give you a little more time to discuss ideas and best ways to approach your project so you are ready to run on Saturday morning.

Is there an age restriction?

Yes, we only allow participants ages 18+. If you are younger and really want to participate, contact us.

I have another question!

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