‘Hack the City’ – Making Canberra a better place

Posted 26 Jul 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

The word ‘hack’ or hacking is normally associated with the sinister activity of tapping into prohibited information. But this weekend, government data will be up for grabs to help make our city a better place for everyone.

Over Friday 28-30 July, GovHack will be in Canberra, encouraging people to unlock the government data to improve our city’s livability and make it easier for people to access government.

GovHack competitors will have 46 hours to create a project page, proof of concept and a video, showing how they have used open government data to achieve this.

So, what does this actually look like? Take the bike crash data that is recorded on the ACT Government’s open data portal, for example. At last year’s GovHack event, a team used this data to create an app concept that warned people when they were entering a high crash zone.

This weekend, GovHack teams will have the flexibility to create whatever their imaginations can fire up, as long as it replicates the data used. Previous entries have created art, jewellery, a digital sign, a board game, and a virtual reality game. With GovHack happening across Australia and New Zealand there are opportunities for some amazing creations.

The ACT Government’s Chief Digital Officer, Jon Cumming, says GovHack encourages transparency between the government and citizens.

“There is nothing like shedding light on what you do to get the confidence of the people that you’re doing the right thing,” he says.

Jon said one of the most powerful things about Canberra is that it’s a very well-educated and connected city, which is fantastic for events like GovHack.

“The city has a focus on education and community, which makes GovHack work really well as there are only two degrees of separation between anybody here. Some of the bigger cities are much harder to navigate,” said Jon.

Jon says everyone is encouraged to get involved in GovHack.

“GovHack is not just for pure data and technology people, it’s for all disciplines to come together. This is the beauty of the event, people are able to connect who wouldn’t normally be connected, sparking innovation, new ideas and different ways of thinking.”

If this sounds like something you would like to get involved in, entry is free and open to everyone. GovHack is very popular, and seats are limited, so head over to the GovHack website for more details.

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