GovHack offers up $30,000 in return for data delivery innovation

Programmers and designers are being invited to participate in GovHack 2012, charged with the task of delivering government data to the Australian public for the chance to share in $30,000.


GovHack is a non-profit run by the Government 2.0 Taskforce and the eGovernment Technology Cluster, with support from the University of Canberra’s INSPIRE Centre and Rewired State.


It also has the support of Adobe, MailChimp, Palantir, the National Archives of Australia, the Australian Government Information Management Office and the Bureau of Meteorology.


This year, GovHack is also an official part of APS Innovation Week, to be held from June 2-8, with the support of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.


Offering up $30,000 in prize money as an incentive, programmers and designers are being encouraged to enter GovHack, which will take place in Canberra and Sydney from June 1-3.


Teams will be required to develop solutions in response to this question: “How can government data be better used to benefit Australians?”


Solutions can come in the form of apps, data mash-ups and data visualisations. However, chief organiser Pia Waugh is maintaining an air of mystery about the prize categories.


“We want people to come with fresh ideas and concepts, and to build them at GovHack using publicly released data from government agencies,” Waugh said in a statement.


“To keep the playing field level, we won’t tell anyone the prize categories until the event.”


In previous years, GovHack winners have found ways to compare government lobbying with the results of successful tenders, and designed apps to help people find the nearest public toilet.


“This is a unique opportunity to be a part of generating ideas for how government can better use and re-use the wealth of information hidden away in its databases,” Waugh said.


“The participants get to, in a small way, directly influence how government data managers will look at and manage their data stores.”


According to event volunteer Geoff Mason, there is also a fun side of the event.


“You get to hang out with like-minded people who love data, coding and producing cool stuff while chugging down caffeine and pizza,” Mason said in a statement.


“It’s kind of like what a lot of people already do with their weekends – we just facilitate it.”


Major and minor prize categories will be announced at the opening of the event on Friday, June 1.


To register, see the competition rules and an outline of the data to be made available, visit the GovHack website. Teams must register ahead of time in order to participate.


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