Parham Hausler and Daniel McCarthy with their app showing the free Wi-Fi in Geelong
Parham Hausler and Daniel McCarthy with their app showing the free Wi-Fi in Geelong

Geelong increases its support of GovHack

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The event features registered computer programmers and software developers putting their IT skills to use to turn data provided by government agencies into useful apps that people can use in everyday life.

GovHack, which has been held annually since 2011 across Australia and New Zealand, features teams of around four to five designers, developers, analysts, testers and storytellers will use open data sets to solve problems, visualise information and create applications.

Each team also has to create a three-minute video. At the end of the weekend, teams are scored based on the product they complete. Last year prizes worth over $120,000 was up for grabs.

Andrew Downie - Manager Digital, Information and Technology at City of Greater Geelong

"GovHack provided the opportunity for solutions to be found within existing data.

"The opportunity to have a specialised fresh set of eyes go over existing data can produce some innovative ideas and solutions".

"Both  local experts, along with participants from across Australia and New Zealand, will sift through the data and also respond to some specific challenges that we have set and may come up with apps that will make our everyday life easier and improve Council services".

Free Geelong Wi-Fi project

A good example of the innovative solutions created at GovHack is from one of last year’s winning teams - Deakin University students Daniel McCarthy and Parham Hausler, whose hack was to design an app that maps all the free Wi-Fi in the City of Greater Geelong.

“Open data for us is about lots of opportunities to test our skills explore potential projects that the data owners don’t have time to do, and show others what can be achieved,” said Daniel McCarthy.

“The Free Geelong Wi-Fi project gave us a chance to extend the original GovHack idea and produce a real outcome for the community," Mr Downie said.

The application is now available for the community at The map is constantly being added to and businesses that provide free Wi-Fi can register to be included.

"This is a great opportunity for businesses to advertise to their customers an additional feature of their business," Mr Downie said.

Geelong Open Data Portal

Another initiative from Digital Geelong in time for GovHack is the launch of the Geelong Open Data Portal.

"Located at this portal can bring all of Geelong’s open data together in one location," Mr Downie said.

"We encourage any and all organisations to open up data, and this site can accommodate so much more then just City of Greater Geelong datasets." 

The City of Greater Geelong has released 105 data sets providing information on events, WiFi, pet information, street trees, public BBQ locations, garbage collection zones and other facilities and services.

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