ABS commends GovHack 2015 winners

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MEDIA RELEASE
7 September 2015
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
99/2015
ABS commends GovHack 2015 winners

A new generation are demonstrating how to access, use and engage with the vast amount of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and publically held data through innovative projects presented at Saturday’s 7th annual GovHack Awards in Sydney.

GovHack draws together people from government, industry, academia and the general public to mash-up, reuse, remix and innovate with Open Government Data and make it more useful or engaging.

“This year the ABS sponsored two awards and had over two dozen data and technical mentors supporting participants across the country.

“We’re proud to be so involved in this event as the ABS is keen to see data used in new ways to support decision making,” said Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch at the GovHack Awards on Saturday.

The Synergising Synergies for Sitizens project won the ABS joint-sponsored Best Policy Insights category - awarded for showing how government data can be used to inform and analyse policies. The team mashed up 12 data sets to create a web-based tool that answers the policy question: "Which suburbs are best-placed for rooftop solar investment in that they return a net positive for the grid". The simple, powerful tool can be used by government agencies, service providers or consumers to develop evidence based policy or drive discussion around renewable energy and urban planning.

Through the ABS sponsored Statistical Data Bounty Prize, the ABS challenged entrants to make full use of ABS.Stat, an interactive free online service allowing machine-to-machine mechanisms for accessing and sharing data to dynamically present statistics in interactive, interesting and useful ways.

This prize was awarded to James "caffeinate me" Gardiner’s AboutOz entry for the most innovative use of an ABS.Stat web service with at least one other government dataset. Through his lines of code, James communicated the simple value of a service-driven approach to dynamically disseminating data in a way that a video presentation or professionally designed web site cannot. Better still, in the spirit of a true GovHacker, James has shared his software with the world as open source so that others can benefit from his work.

“I’m delighted that the winners of the two categories the ABS sponsored have shown such innovation,” Mr Kalisch said.

“With our bounty prize we were looking for something that demonstrated the power of the digital transformation and ways of supplying data to our users that helps them to do things with it we may not have yet considered.”

The ABS's commitment to community and inter-agency engagement has already been recognised when GovHack awarded ABS volunteers the ACT/Canberra Spirit of GovHack award at the local event at Australian National University. This is the first time this award has been given out to non-entrants at the event.

GovHack 2015 attracted about 2000 participants and 28 sponsors from across government and industry. For more information visit https://www.govhack.org/

Media: Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.