I travelled to Rockhampton to join the Startup Capricorn group for my first ever GovHack event this year! Not knowing what to expect, or what skills I would need to participate I was surprised to find that I was able to contribute to the team I joined.
After a funny text message from my sister after the weekend, this reminds me that I still have to have a chat to my worried mother and explain that no – I wasn’t trying to hack into the government. 😀
GovHack is an annual competition that is held around the country in which participants mash together Government Open Data sets and other sources to create new and interesting websites, apps or even art installations – there is no limit to the creativity.
The competition is held in order to help unlock the usefulness of the myriad of datasets that can sometimes be overwhelming to the casual reader.
GovHack was similar to Startup Weekend, except no pitches or presentations (apart from the final video presentation) which I found to be great as we could just mainly focus on the tech.
The team I joined had some very experienced coding gurus and so I was able to just pitch ideas at them at help massage some of the data sets downloaded using Microsoft’s Excel program.
I even learnt about some new software (Tableau) that is used to manipulate and display data sets, and the theory behind linking data sets to make them useful. Overall, I found the weekend a really great experience, and made some new friends. Next year, I will be hosting GovHack in Mackay via Startup Mackay, and I can’t wait!