Running your own heatseekers quest

Running your own heatseekers quest can be a fun and engaging way to get people talking about heat.

To help you get started we’ve got a few tips to ensure your quest is the hottest it can be.

1. Thermal cameras

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These are key to a killer quest. They’re quite pricey to buy though so your best option is to rent them from a tool supplier (we used Jewsons). Give yourself plenty of time though, suppliers can find these hard to get hold of and may need to courier them from other locations. You might also find it possible to borrow some - e.g. try the engineering department of your local university, or the maintenance staff of large buildings might use them as part of their work.

2. Pick your location

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Ideally, you want a mix of outdoors and inside, including somewhere with a variety of different buildings which could include old housing, new office blocks, leisure centres, shops etc. The more diverse range of buildings the more your heatseekers have to work with. You can run them exclusively indoors or exclusively outdoors though, work with what you’ve got. If you can have some time indoors to play with the cameras before you go start questing, this can help get everyone used to using them (and lets you check out some indoors fun with them, like footprints you leave on the floor).

3. Time it well

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It’s best to hold your event in the evening sometime in the late autumn or winter when the weather’s a bit colder (it shows up better on the camera that way!). When exactly you hold the event will depend a bit on who you want to come. For example, if your heatseekers are coming from work, you want to run it after 6pm. If you’re running it for people in schools or a workplace, maybe go for a time of year when it gets dark really early (which should also be cold!) and starting it with an indoor quest for an hour or so before going outdoors.  

4. Set a challenge and ask some questions.

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It can be a good idea to set a challenge to help get your heatseekers thinking creatively - e.g. what's the hottest thing you can find, what's the weirdest, what made you ask questions? If you’re indoors, you can ask people to look for electrical equipment giving off heat (e.g. whose phone charger is the most wasteful) and, indoors or out, windows and lights are always a good thing to point the cameras at. For an extra challenge, find some locations to hide some hot items like hot water bottles (this is obviously easier for indoor quests, but we managed it outdoors too).

5. Find a venue for after the quest

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It’s good to find a space where you can bring people together to talk about what they’ve found. This could be a pub, a community centre or the school or workplace you all set off from. Booking speakers can be a good move too. We brought in two speakers to talk about different aspects of heat including novel technological solutions and problems like fuel poverty. If you have the budget, providing a little bit of food and drink at the end can help encourage everyone to talk more, and you can even run a competition with prizes for the team who found the funniest/ hottest/ weirdest thing on their quest.