Short Hackathon – Data collection

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Large area to cover in a short period of time.
A complexity was added, most of the class didn’t know Edinburgh well and even less Inverleith. Because of that, we had difficulty to target  what would be our target, and which kind of data we should focus on. 

We decided that trying to have a large overview to the area might be the best start, and maybe form that, some good things in some of the part could be replicated in other, or problems will appear… We thought that if we looked a more facts and places: at least one thing, one fact, one problem will appear to work on. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea, as it took us a lot of time to do different observations on different topics and locations without the possibility to go deeper in any of them. I guess it was the game: take a decision, stick to it, made the best out of it, no time to change your mind.

The positive thing is now we have a good overview of the area: the lacks or presence of infrastructure, how is divided the neighbourhood, what are the possible problems we could try to solve, what we could improve… We started with an open mind, receptive to any kind of observations.

Note for the futur:

  • have a better idea of the place, events, problems… before starting, even for a short project: take more time to prepare it
  • try to target an topic: What do I want to know, for what, how ?
  • think more about what is the most appropriate way to collect the data we need.
  • defines role in the group and what are the tasks for each persons
  • defines objectifs
  • keep a record of your idea during the observation time
  • keep mind open


We collected pictures of the road and the cycling line, took notes on our observations as cyclist in Inverleith.

We also counted the number of cyclists we were passing in some of the bicycle path only for bikes and pedestrians.

Our main observation was that the main dedicated cycling path go through Inverleith without give a sens of where you are, it is not integrated to the neighbourhood. Instead, it divides it in 2 parts, creating a border inside the area, a wall we would like to break.

  • Bad condition of the surface of the cycle lanes
  • Really bad condition of the surface of the side of the road
  • Difficulties in accessing cycle lanes (no signs, stairs)
  • Some lanes too narrow, cyclists interfere with pedestrians
  • Dedicated cycle lanes only peripherally of Inverleith, none of them connecting venues inside


We measured the average speed of cars on 2 different road (we were thinking that the cars were driving too fast). For the first road the average speed was 45km/h and for the second one 54 km/h. We were quite surprised. It is a good lesson: the reality can be completely distort by the perception. We have to be careful on not base the work on perception, but on facts.

We measured the size of 2 roads and there is possibility for cycling line. We were wondering how a ‘reorganisation of the road’ could help to have better condition for cycling and walking. Also a reorganisation of the parking places to gain space.


  • Enough space on some of the big road to have bike lane and not only a sign ‘bike friendly’. In my point of view there is also space to have protected bike lane.
  • Some of the side of the road are critical for bike.
  • Surprisingly the cars are not driving too fast in the majority






Observation near the schools was not easy. First you feel awkward to be in front of a school watching all these kids with there parents (observing without consent is not easy). Then the data collected were not accurate : the parents wee parking near the school but not in my field of vision and after arriving by foot. The first few minutes I thought ‘super, almost all of them are walking’ , but quickly realised it was the reality. Conclusion all the data collected are wrong. I haven’t figured out how to collect them whiteout having to ask to each one ‘how did you arrive’ with very short interview or paper survey in the schools.

Second observation: the scooters. I was really surprised that so many many kids were arriving with scooters. One issues was that the parents had to go home/to the car with the scooter. No parking inside the school. The result of that, less schooners and small bicycle at the end of the day, as the parents are not coming back with it.

  • Children from whole Edinburgh, neighbourhood and outside neighbourhood

  • Problem with data collection: Parents parking around but arriving on foot

  • Mix of car & walk

  • Lots of Scooters

  • Many bikes, but no cycle parking place

  • Use of pavements to cycle




Some of our observation were confirmed by talking with people. Even a guy born in Inverleith didn’t know the mort west was part of the neighbourhood. This part is isolated from the rest. It didn’t benefit from the attraction of this area. 

Also, most of the neighbourhood is fortunate, and it is too bad that this barrier exist between the north west and the rest. It is like, the cycle path is creating this wall and there is no passage from one side to the other.  

Note for future: try to not influence with the questions, because it could stop the thinking process by guiding on an other path. Like in some culture when you ask ‘is it this rection?’ they will always say yes even if then don t know or it is another one, because it is impolite to say ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’. Always ask open question, ‘ What is the direction?’


  • A mother coming to pick her daughter from Stockbridge Primary School (both were cycling)
    –  What do you think about cycling?
    –  It’s really dangerous to cycle in the road, car drivers are not educated to respect cyclists.
    –  Would you leave your children to cycle on the road?
    –  Definetely not.
    –  If there were some dedicated to bikes lanes?
    –  Oh yes. It’s fine to cycle in the dedicated lanes.
  • A couple saying that Inverleith is the best place in Edinburgh from safety point of view for pedestrians and cyclists, other neighbourhood are worse

  • Some native guy does not know the northwest side is part of Inverleith

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Inverleith Park
Royal Botanic Garden
Water of leith
Modern Art Gallery
Fettes College

Crewe Road South
East Fettes Avenue
Northwest part of Inverleith

Data visualisation


We choose to present our data in a raft way, as the way to collected them was done in an manual way (pictures, counted by observation with vertical line on paper, measurements with tape measure, phone and calculs, observations…). 

We also did some graphic representation for the school observation and the speed of the cars.

To see them you can have a look at the final presentation here.