INDEPENDENT NEWS

Event At Ara |Te Pūkenga Attracts Those With A Knack For A Hack

Published: Fri 18 Aug 2023 04:28 PM
Everyone likes a short-cut, right?
Well, over the coming days Ara |Te Pūkenga is playing host to leaders in the open data and civic technology communities with a thirst for taming numbers and coming up with big ideas.
GovHack is an annual hackathon-style competition that brings together government agencies, developers, designers, and data enthusiasts from across New Zealand and Australia to collaboratively create innovative solutions using open government data.
It’s the first time Ara (partnering with Trimble) has co-hosted the event, which is organised simultaneously in centres in Australia and New Zealand. Thousands of participants, including ākonga (students), professionals and enthusiasts, are expected to get in on the action - making it one of the largest hackathons in the southern hemisphere.
This year, data for the challenges is being contributed by organisations such as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and InfoSys. Significant prizes are up for grabs.
The three-day event kicks off at 5pm on Friday with teams given 46 hours to create an app or visualisation inspired by the data.
Amit Sarkar, Ara Creative Arts and Digital Information (CADI) senior academic staff member, said the campus was excited to be hosting teams from Dunedin via Zoom, as well as from other institutes all around Canterbury.
"It’s great to see this event evolving from being an entirely online event during Covid to a hybrid model where competitors can choose to Zoom in or come on site to our Kahukura building and work on projects in our space," Sarkar said.
He said there would be involvement from industry with teams from Trimble and MorphIT among those signed up. Others are expected to register on the day.
CADI Academic Manager Peter Nock said GovHack garnered significant media attention and public interest due to its focus on using open data for the public good and promotion of transparency in government.
"GovHack promotes civic engagement and encourages citizens to actively participate in using government data to address real-world challenges and improve public services," Nock said.
"It offers a unique platform for individuals and teams to showcase their skills, creativity and innovative ideas. It fosters collaboration between the public sector and the broader community, leading to the development of practical and data-driven solutions to societal problems."
He said it offered an opportunity for government agencies to engage with the public and gain insights into potential applications of their data too. "It encourages open data policies and demonstrates the value of making government data accessible to citizens."
Nock said the multi-disciplinary, inclusive event was an exciting opportunity for Ara.
"We align with GovHack’s strategic vision build involvement with educational institutions. In turn, it allows us to foster innovation and provide learning opportunities providing ākonga hands-on experience with real-world data."
Let the data descend and the solution design begin!

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