Data visualisation apps win GovHack Sunshine Coast cash prizes

GovHack Sunshine Coast 2015
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Local hackers Jason Discount, Pat Walsh and Johannes Klupfel have shared a $1000 cash prize for their Dogs Unleashed web application in the Sunshine Coast’s first GovHack event in Peregian Beach on 3-5 July.

They received the prize for the most innovative use of data to create a recreational, environmental and/or cultural solution for the Sunshine Coast region.

Dogs Unleashed is a responsively designed, location-aware web app that combines data on parks, beach access points and dog-friendly water fountains to provide local and visiting dog owners with information on where they're welcome, where they are required to use a leash, and where they can find a dog-friendly drink of water on the Sunshine Coast.

Where2, a data visualisation solution designed by Daniel Bryar (pictured right) to give inbound Sunshine Coast visitors a better idea of where they should locate themselves based on their intended activities, interests and requirements, also received a $1000 cash prize as the most innovative use of data to create a smart business and/or tourism solution for the Sunshine Coast region.

The GovHack Sunshine Coast event attracted six teams who submitted innovative and engaging entries for a range of national, state and local prizes.

Event organiser Anne Lawrence from Regional Development Australia, partner in the Digital Sunshine Coast project, said the quality of thinking and responses to the open data challenge was impressive.

“This event was a perfect example of everyone working together for the benefit of our region, with both Noosa and Sunshine Coast Councils actively involved in every step of the way,” she said. 

GovHack is an international hackathon that brings more than 1800 people together to innovate, collaborate and apply their creative skills to open government data.

“A ‘hack’ is anything that uses government data in a clever or creative way. It might be an application, analysis, a data visualisation, a 3D printed or laser cut project, a digitisation project, artworks or anything else that fits the spirit of GovHack,” Mrs Lawrence said. 

The aim is for people with a wide range of skills to come together to build projects using government datasets and make them available to the community through mobile and web apps, application programming interfaces (APIs), data visualisations and infographics.

Mrs Lawrence said GovHack Sunshine Coast was a community node event that grew out of a collaborative partnership between local sponsors Atmail, RDA Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council and Noosa Council. The two local councils released 91 datasets for the competition.

Sunshine Coast Council also used the event to launch its new Open Data Portal which provides access to more publicly accessible information to help drive economic opportunities and promote innovation.

Winners of the two Sunshine Coast prizes were announced at the GovHack Brisbane Red Carpet event on 31 July.

Jason Discount received the Local Spirit of GovHack award for his passion and dedication to the Sunshine Coast event. He showed up early, stayed late, shared his deep technical knowledge and actively supported/assisted other hackers in their projects.

The six teams are also eligible for a range of national and international prizes, to be announced at the GovHack national awards night in Sydney on 5 September.

TOP IMAGE: Dogs Unleashed team members Pat Walsh and Jason Discount with Brian Beswick (Sunshine Coast Council) and Brook Kitson (RDA Sunshine Coast) at the GovHack awards night in Brisbane on 31 July.