State GovHack awards to showcase Queensland’s best

This story of mine was originally published on the Tech Street Journal, where I currently work as a student contributor. 

The state’s best hackers, coders and designers will head to Brisbane tonight to celebrate Queensland’s GovHack awards.

Two teams from the Toowoomba GovHack competition were shortlisted for the event and will compete in the state titles.

Parisian graphic and interactive designer Nicholas Renou is one of three members from a Toowoomba team that created ‘Get Ready,’ an app aimed at informing citizens of national disasters and especially towards non-English speaking visitors or migrants.

“We made an app to inform users on the level of risk of any national disaster in their area,” Renou said.

The app utilizes data from National Map Queensland Government, Open Data Portal, GeoScience Australia, and Queensland Globe to share information about the weather and association threat based on where you are.

Get Ready will also helps with disaster preparation, and provides life-saving tips, for example, during a cyclone your bathroom is the safest room in the house.

Toowoomba participants included mural tour guide "50 Shades of Mural," which has won four local awards already. Photos: , Dave Masefield
The Toowoomba event also saw mural tour guide “50 Shades of Mural” win four local awards. Photos: @GovHackBNE, Dave Masefield

Queensland Minister for Science and Innovation, Leeanne Enoch said that competitions like GovHack are crucial in solving some of the challenges when using the government’s Open Data.

“To prosper, generate local employment opportunities and remain globally competitive, we must drive digital innovation in Queensland as we transition to a knowledge economy”, Minister Enoch said. “One way to drive innovation and demonstrate the benefits of the digital economy is to free up government data and make it available for use by Apps developers and the community.”

Geoff Mason, the GovHack National Project Lead says state and local awards are vital in recognizing and showcasing the talent that exists within Australia, as well as helping to forge relationships between governments and communities.

“The awards provide the local organizers and the local community with the opportunity to engage directly with the local government agencies who have sponsored and put their data behind the event.”

Being new to Toowoomba, GovHack participant Renou suggested the competition provides more than just networking opportunities for local governments.

“I just arrived in Toowoomba a month ago so the GovHack weekend was a great way for me to meet likeminded people”, Renou said. “It was a really good atmosphere. It was intense and high pressure at times, but all in all it was a great experience.”

The National GovHack Red Carpet Awards will be held on September 5th in Sydney. And stay tuned, we will update as the state awards are announced.

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