Energy calculator, infrastructure apps feature at this year’s GovHack

A run-down of some of the entrants in this year's GovHack 2014 hackathon

More than 1200 developers and technologists across Australia hacked away over a 48-hour period to produce innovative tools and apps at this year’s GovHack event, which took place 11-13 July.

Ahead of the red carpet awards, which take place in Brisbane on 10 August, here are some of Techworld Australia’s top picks from the event.

Energy Calculator and Comparison Tool

Household appliances may come with energy star ratings, but it's not easy to calculate what this means in terms of power bills. ACT duo Jonathan Moffatt and Wai Liu designed an easy way for households to work out how much they could save if they swapped out one or more of their appliances for a more energy efficient model.

The team built up with a calculator that lets users list all of their household appliances and usage patterns to see their energy consumption in dollar terms and then see how much could be shaved off their electricity bill if they purchased more energy efficient ones.

MyCity

Gold Cost GovHack participants Team GovLink developed an app designed make it easier for the city's citizens to interact with government agencies and receive important information.

The app lets users report an issue to their local council such as uncollected rubbish, potholes, or damaged facilities. MyCity can automatically determine the user’s current location, a location for the problem can be submitted manually.

In an event of an emergency, such as a bushfire, users can send a pre-set SMS to their friends. The app picks up on the user’s current location and also sends that to their friends.

Drawing on open datasets, the app can alert users to current road closures and or local water service outages, or remind users when the local council is collecting rubbish or recycling.

Visitors (or locals) to a the city can also use it to find out more about current or upcoming events.

Transport Trails

Transport Trials is the eponymous GovHack entry of a Sydney team that displays an animated visualization of Sydney’s public transport system over a 24 hour period, showing how different modes of transport move in the city at a certain time of the day.

Read more: GovHack announces 2013 winners

It could be used to analyse traffic flow, peak times, and areas of density between buses, trains, ferries and light rail trains across Sydney.

The team used data from Transport NSW and a combination of the Leaflet JavaScript framework, the Mapbox platform, the Raphaël JavaScript library, and D3.js.

Data-by-region Comparator

NSW team Something Spatial – Kevin Ring, Bill Simpson-Young and Keith Grochow – created extensions for the NICTA-developed National Map, which is a platform that allows geospatial datasets made available by government agencies to be overlaid on a map of Australia.

The map's datasets are sourced from Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the government's data.gov.au open data repository.

The extension developed by Something Spatial provides an easy way to compare data, such as health of various socioeconomic indicators, by region.

Users can drag and drop a CSV file containing fields such as population, household income and income tax, onto the map and easily compare regions.

Hot News Time Machine

The Hot News Time Machine created by Kenni Bawden and James Edwards is a Google Chrome extension that draws on the National Library of Australia's Trove archive of digitised newspapers to swap out boring "new news" for a (presumably) far more interesting old article. It also adds a lovely sepia tint to a site.

The extension works on a range of Australian news sites, including news.com.au, dailytelegraph.com.au, heraldsun.com.au, theaustralian.com.au, couriermail.com.au, themercury.com.au and NTnews.com.au.

It utilises Alchemy API's Concept Tagging engine to find (somewhat) relevant articles from Trove. It can also display data from the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) collection.

For a full list of GovHack entrants visit http://hackerspace.govhack.org/.

Read more: Smart cities: using data to shape our urban environments

Tags GovHackGovHack 2014

More about ACTAPIAustralian Bureau of StatisticsBillBureau of MeteorologyGoogleNational Library of AustraliaNICTA

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