This weekend’s GovHack event is set to be the biggest yet, with thousands expected to unite to demonstrate the potentials and opportunities on offer through the use of government open data.
The GovHack hackathon will take place in major cities across Australia and New Zealand over the coming weekend, with more than 1500 participants expected to provide a proof-of-concept and video showing an innovative use of an open data set.
The Digital Transformation Agency is the major sponsor of the event, with other supporters including the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Infosys, Department of Defence, Science and Technology, IP Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology.
A range of representatives from these departments’ open data teams, business analysts and senior executives are expected to attend the event, with some also serving as judges.
Guests across the country also include Queensland MP Michael de Brenni, Tasmanian Science and Technology Minister Michael Ferguson, and Victorian Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis.
GovHack program manager Paris Buttfield-Addison said the overarching aim is to encourage collaboration between government and participants on open data initiatives.
“[We’re looking for] proof of concepts that can be taken back to government to encourage further thought and exploration. We hope that governments will engage with the teams that produce these concepts to take them further,” Dr Buttfield-Addison told InnovationAus.com.
“GovHack is also trying to engage coworking spaces to push projects further at the end of the competition.”
This year’s GovHack will have a particular focus on digital isolation and communities.
The event will help “thousands of local innovators realise the value of open data and the potential benefits it can offer”, DTA chief executive officer Randall Brugeaud said.
“This sponsorship demonstrates the DTA’s ongoing commitment to optimising the use and re-use of open data, while driving collaboration with other sectors to extend the value of open data for the benefit of all Australians,” Mr Brugeaud said.
The federal government has been attempting to encourage national agencies and departments to make data available for re-use on the data.gov.au platform, with nearly 30,000 datasets now available.
“The DTA is the government’s lead delivery agency for open data, managing the National Map and data.gov.au. In this role we continue to encourage government agencies to make their data available for re-use,” Mr Brugeaud said.
“Soon, we will make it even easier to re-use open data with the launch of a new data.gov.au platform that features greater functionality and search capabilities. This will help innovators like those taking part in this year’s GovHack event to unlock even more value from open data.”
The GovHack event aims to demonstrate what is possible with these datasets, and encourage government to make more available to the general public.
Past winners at the event have included visualisations of the data, 3D models and new apps based on the open data creating public services.
A red carpet event will be held in two months showcasing this year’s winners to a range of agency heads, politicians, sponsors and public servants.
GovHack was incorporated as a company earlier this year, and now has four directors and a small number of voting members. This year it intends to hold an annual general meeting, increase its membership and elect a new set of directors.