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Open data at GovHack Geelong

"Winning GovHack will say more to your prospective employer than HDs."

Are you familiar with geofencing, business intelligence, algorithms, clickstream, clojure, Cassandra and more? They are just a tiny selection of terms expected to be bounced around at the annual GovHack event.

Now in its seventh year, GovHack was first established by Web Directions in Australia in 2009 and quickly turned into a collaborative community and volunteer event across Australia and New Zealand.

Aimed at giving students and practitioners an understanding of Big Data and exploring how information can be used to create new insights, GovHack also shows that the civic hacker community is rapidly growing and how it is able to tackle tricky data problems, design, analysis as well as coding in clever ways.

John Lamp, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Systems & Business Analytics at Deakin explains that information and how it can be used is radically changing and initiatives such as these demonstrate what is possible now as well as pointing out future developments.

‘Look at the web and you will see that it almost totally dominates how we access information.

‘I could use your Fitbit data to gain knowledge about whether you are walking or cycling, whether you are fatigued from that and also factor in hills and bike-paths, all without even asking you.

‘Events such as GovHack explore such developments and the implications they have, as well as providing paths to them,’ John says.  

Governments collect and publish enormous amounts of data, but have limited resources to get it into the hands of their citizens in engaging ways. GovHack draws together people from government, industry, academia and the general public to mashup, reuse, and remix government data.

Kathy Reid, Digital Delivery and Operations Manager at Deakin University, explains that the world is moving to a stage where information and access to information is about to totally transform how we live and do business.

‘With the rise of Big Data, it is vitally important that the discipline of business analytics is taught to and explored with future practitioners and Deakin is leading the field with industry relevant offerings and supporting events such as GovHack.

‘I want to see another piece of Geelong’s transformation to a digital economy fall into place through GovHack and experience data from the people, by the people transformed for the people.’

Focused on building a better democracy, GovHack encourages innovation, participation, and the development of a strong community of civic hackers. The vision for 2015 is to work even harder to ensure the event promotes openness and collaboration between government and the community.

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