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GovHack 2017 this weekend

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Turning compelling stories into awardwinning and useful projects is what this year’s GovHack teams will be striving for at this weekend’s event.

EIT Hawke’s Bay is the host venue for the second year in a row, which also happens to be the second year the region has participated in this nationwide event.

The teams will be using open data, made available by local Councils and central Government agencies. It is information that the organisation creates or receives as part of their day to day business, and doesn’t contain any private or confidential details..

The 46-hour event is an opportunity for members of the community to take open data and turn it into something new and useful, says Tom Hartley, Senior Lecturer at EIT’s School of Computing.

These could include creating apps to help people find local landmarks, writing a plan to address housing issues, or many other concepts using government data.

Projects which have been inspired by GovHack include Tsunami-safe. This uses government threat zones overlapped on Google maps to help people living in tidal threat zones to find higher ground in the event of a tsunami.

The most successful teams are usually those who have a range of skills - not just IT knowledge. An important requirement of GovHack participation is that teams need to record their processes, which is taken into consideration for the prizes, for a range of categories for individuals, such as the "busy bee" for the hardest worker and "number 8 wire" for ingenuity.

The Napier City, Hastings District and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils sponsor the team prizes, while other sponsors include Sileni Estates and Design Cuisine.

The results of last year’s event were used by the Councils to help form their policies on open data and other worthwhile purposes.

GovHack was founded in Australia in 2009 and first held in New Zealand in 2015.

Each year GovHack Australia hosts a red carpet awards night to celebrate the achievements of international and national prizewinners. In 2015 the team which produced an emergency response solution won $15,000 and the title of overall Australasian GovHack winner.

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