Government 2.0 Taskforce » contests http://gov2.net.au Design by Ben Crothers of Catch Media Tue, 04 May 2010 23:55:29 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.6 en hourly 1 Not for Profit PSI Contest Announcement http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/21/not-for-profit-psi-contest-announcement/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/21/not-for-profit-psi-contest-announcement/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2009 23:25:27 +0000 Lisa Harvey http://gov2.net.au/?p=1581 It was very pleasing to see the number of proposals that were submitted for our not-for-profit contest.  It shows that there is not only strong demand for public sector information in this important sector of the Australian economy, but also great potential for them to contribute to public policy development and Government service delivery if we can just make it easier for them to access relevant PSI.

There were some really good ideas put forward that showed creativity and had a clear sense of purpose. Some of the better ideas that caught the eye of the Taskforce were:

  • Yearn to learn (from psinclair) – An online register of skills shortages and how to obtain skills in high demand;
  • Surf Life Saving NSW – Rescue Package (from kstorey) – Data to improve the recruiting and deployment of lifesavers;
  • Status of Women (from diann) /Index of Women’s Health and Well-being (from rose.durey) – two similar proposals for a website providing a comprehensive of index of women’s health issues and data
  • Data on Disabled Drivers and Permits (from wpeacock658) – Aggregated data on disabled drivers, vehicle modifications and parking/access schemes to assist local planning and national road policies.

Of course not everyone fully grasped the concept we were trying to get across, but that is all part of the process of crowdsourcing innovation. Nonetheless, even those who were wide of the mark put forward some interesting ideas for aggregating data and providing services that policy makers should be paying more attention to. Of particular interest was the number of proposals for directories. Unfortunately this type of project is notoriously difficult to maintain and to achieve ongoing funding for, so these ideas couldn’t be taken any further by the Taskforce.

But the idea that we chose as the winner of this contest was “Indicators of social inclusion in local geographic areas for planning an evaluating community services” from hmcguire, which proposed that data should be published on key social indicators based on local geographic areas so it can be made available to community organisations, policy makers, and government funding bodies.

Social data is an incredible rich and complex resource and the community sector could benefit from access to it in many ways. At the moment this data is spread over many agencies. The idea presented seems to me to be an aggregator of data. This approach has several potential benefits for the community sector – it can reduce the time required to find the data needed, and the duplication of many organisations doing the work of finding the same pieces of data; it can create a place for educating the sector in the use of data (this is very important); and last but not least, access to good data in the community sector will result in better decision making and better placement of limited funding and better outcomes for the disadvantaged. While I know this raises the Cathedral/bazaar argument again, this is not so much about data brokering, but more about capacity building.

Congratulations to hmcguire for putting forward a very topical and useful proposal – the charity/not-for-profit of your choice will receive a cash donation of $5,000 courtesy of the Taskforce, and you will also be contacted by Connecting Up Australia who have been commissioned by the Taskforce to provide consulting services to assist you with progressing your idea.

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Accessibility Contest Announcement http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/18/accessibility-contest-announcement/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/18/accessibility-contest-announcement/#comments Fri, 18 Dec 2009 04:30:52 +0000 Lisa Harvey http://gov2.net.au/?p=1576 One of the projects the taskforce ran was a competition to assess the accessibility of government websites. The project was conducted by Media Access Australia and was run in two stages. The first was a brainstorming site to find those sites that could best do with a makeover. Then MAA listed the top sites on their AWARe.org.au site to tap into the expertise of an established community of people who assess site performance against criteria to provide a comparable score for the level of accessibility of each site.

The brainstorming process highlighted 3 sites:

MAA also added the Government 2.0 Taskforce Blog and the Social Inclusion site to the list.

From MAA’s results, the National Library site fares the best. But this is a strange competition where those with the worst score win.  MAA concluded:

“The Government 2.0 Taskforce competition and the AWARe project have been successful in identifying key access issues with five government websites.  The National Library website appears to be generally accessible and the Prime Ministers Media Gallery needs some significant improvements.

The three other sites, the Parliament of Australia Live Broadcasting site, the Government 2.0 Taskforce website and the Social Inclusion website, are inaccessible to the point where a new website should be considered rather than addressing the access issues. Given the significance of the Social Inclusion website to people with disabilities, the government should consider creating a replacement for this website immediately. ”

It is now up to the agencies to take on the advice of MAA and improve the accessibility of their sites as set out in the attached report.

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And the Mashie Goes To…[drum roll] http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/14/and-the-mashie-goes-to/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/14/and-the-mashie-goes-to/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2009 02:24:47 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=1453 Mashie

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the winners of the MashupAustralia contest have now been announced.

In case you have missed it, here is some background about the contest – from launch and initial response to a final wrap-up.

We’ve also tried to follow the conversation that you have been having elsewhere about the contest. Most recently, we came across this interesting four part discussion on the All Things Spatial blog about some of the contest entries (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

All that remains is to know who will go home with the coveted Mashie (see image (yes, the trophy is a potato masher)) and, of course, the prize money. Our esteemed judging panel have deliberated and considered all of the entries against the rules. As we indicated might happen, more than one prize per category has been awarded because there were so many high quality entries.

For Excellence in Mashing, the Mashies go to:

  • Surburban Trends a mashup of different types of crime and census data that allows you compare and contrast suburbs by a range of economic, education, safety and socio-economic indicators. The judges thought the ability to compare suburbs visually combined with the selective choice of statistics was excellent especially in a field dominated by many entries using similar datasets.
  • Know Where You Live which bills itself as a prototype of a mashup of a range of open access government data based on postcodes so that you can truly know where you live. The judges loved the very citizen-centric “common questions” user experience of this app and the groovy, and again, selective repackaging of what could otherwise be considered (we’ll be honest here) slightly boring data. The integration of publicly-held historical photographs and rental price data was a nice touch as was the use of Google’s satellite images in the header. Judges were disappointed that some of the data for states other than NSW wasn’t available for inclusion. The focus on compliance only with the most modern standards compliant browsers was not seen as detrimental to this mashup.

The Highly Commendable Mashups were:

  • geo2gov which serves an excellent example of what can be possible with open government data. This entry provided an online service that will take a location description in a wide range of formats, and map that location to the government. The testament to its utility was demonstrated by the fact that several other entries used geo2gov. Contest judge Mark Pesce said that this app that was such an impressive prototype of what was possible with government data that it made his geeky pants wet.
  • Firemash a timely entry that analyses notices from the state of New South Wales’ Rural Fire Service and sends you a tweet if you are at risk. The judges were particularly impressed with this entry’s use of different services and its real time web goodness. The ability for citizens to submit fire information and be notified of nearby fires was quite unique. The dual purpose – citizen to Government and Government to citizen – possibilities with this site made it one of the few submitted mashups to explore data in this way.

And the Notable Mashing Achievements were:

  • In Their Honour which brings together service records, maps and photographs for each of the service men and women who have died for Australia. The judging panel felt that although a similar service already exists provided by the Australian War Memorial,  this entry explored the data in a noticeably different way attracting the opportunity for a different kind of engagement with the same datasets.
  • LobbyLens shows connections relevant to government business (e.g., government suppliers, government agencies, politician responsibilities, lobbyists etc.). For the judging panel, the relationship visualizations that this entry gave aligned well with much of purpose of Government 2.0 even if its usability needs a lot of work.
  • FlipExplorer this entry combines an interactive online search interface, 3D tagcloud, and timeline widget, which allows you to browse through the Powerhouse Museum’s Collection as you would any physical book. Although not truly a mashup of more than one data source, the judges felt that this was an impressive use of a visual interface.

For the People’s Choice Award, once we adjusted for the malicious voting up and voting down (shame on you who partook), the clear winner was In Their Honour — which is consistent with the judge’s thoughts on its usability. As commenter Nerida Deane said “I just looked up my Great Uncle Al and found the site easy to use and I liked the information it gave me. Maybe one day I’ll have a chance to visit his memorial.”

The Student Prize goes to Suburban Trends (obviously) and to Suburban Matchmaker, which the judges felt was a clever idea (albeit potentially raising some interesting questions for future ethics classes). Because rewarding and encouraging our students can never be a bad thing, the judges also agreed to award both Earth:Australia and Community Rivers each a partial student prize for a commendable effort in student mashing.

Finally, the Transformation Challenge for entries that enhance and/or make datasets available for re-use programmatically – the bonus prizes are awarded to geo2gov (see above), Neogopher (judges’ comment: this provides a pretty comprehensive set of transformation and API access to many of the data.australia.gov.au datasets in one place) and absxml (judges’ comment: a nice conversion idea that needs a bit of work to make it more usable.).

Finally, as part of any awards ceremony some thank-yous are required. A repeated big thank you to all of those involved in organizing the hackfests, to those who participated in the events and everyone who submitted entries or provided comments and feedback. Many thanks are due to our esteemed judging panel for their time and attention to all 82 entries. Thanks also to the Federal, State and Territory government agencies who provided datasets for the contest. And to the teams on the Taskforce Secretariat at the Australian Government Information Management Office and at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy who provided the project support. This has been a collaboration in every sense of the word and hopefully demonstrated its purpose namely, to show what is possible when agencies liberate their data…

[cue the music to cut the presenter short and get them off the stage]

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Structured Brainstorming Competition: Congratulations to all our winners! http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/19/structured-brainstorming-winners/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/19/structured-brainstorming-winners/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2009 02:01:25 +0000 Peter Alexander [Taskforce Secretariat] http://gov2.net.au/?p=1371 The Structured Brainstorming competition we ran through our IdeaScale page was a great experiment in reaching out to the crowd and seeing what ideas they (you!) had to contribute to the work of the Taskforce.  There were some intriguing ideas put forward, including suggestions for new Government projects and services that have provided us with some food for thought. Today I’m happy to announce the winners of the first two prize categories on offer (with the Not for Profit PSI and Web 2.0 Accessibility Makeover category winners on track to be announced in early December).

To refresh your memory, the first round of the contest had two categories with prizes attached. The Brainstorming category was aimed at project ideas that the Taskforce could fund in line with its terms of reference. Meanwhile, in the Gov 2.0 Innovators category we were looking for nominations for agencies, projects or individuals who have done valuable work and have been champions for the Gov 2.0 cause. When judging both of these categories the Taskforce took into account both your voting and the quality of the ideas themselves.

And the winners are…

Brainstorming Category

There were two winning ideas in this category, both nominated by Brad Peterson.  They were:

The Taskforce would like to congratulate Brad for these ideas. They are great examples of practical initiatives which could help the Australian Government improve its online presence and help Australia in the move towards open government.

And Brad, if you’re reading this, we’ve tried to get in touch with you but haven’t been able to…please send us an email from the account you used to submit the ideas so we can get you your prizes!

Gov 2.0 Innovators

This was an interesting one. After giving it some consideration, the Taskforce couldn’t narrow it down to just one winner. So instead we have three, spread across different categories:

In the view of the Taskforce, ABC Pool is a great example of a publicly-funded agency using Web 2.0 tools to revolutionise the way it does business. Mosman Municipal Council deserves recognition for its impressive Community Engagement Strategy, which involves using a range of online tools and techniques to reach out to the local community and involve them in the business of government. In the individual category, Craig Thomler is notable for his tireless and enthusiastic commentary and involvement in the Gov 2 space in Australia, through his blog eGov AU and other channels.

Thanks to j2.coates for submitting the ABC Pool and Mosman City Council nominations, and Nathanael Boehm for nominating Craig Thomler. We’ll be getting in touch with the winners soon to talk about awarding their prizes, as discussed in the original Gov 2 Innovators blog post.

As well as congratulating our winners in both categories, the Taskforce would like to thank everyone who submitted an idea, or commented or voted on ideas. Government 2.0 is all about the interaction between people and their government, and from our point of view the engagement and enthusiasm of the online community has been an inspiration to the Taskforce as it goes about its work.

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GovHack: govt data + hackers + caffeine == good times http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/05/govhack/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/05/govhack/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2009 00:53:24 +0000 John Allsopp http://gov2.net.au/?p=1297 John Allsopp from Web Directions was an organiser of GovHack, an event sponsored by the Taskforce. It was held on the 30th and 31st of October 2009 to encourage greater use and availability of government data in support of the MashupAustralia contest.

Govhack

For those who’ve not heard of them, the rather ominously sounding “hack days” are events that have been gaining popularity with developers around the world. They bring together web focussed designers, developers and other experts to build web applications and mashups in a 24 hour period.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, no Government at any level anywhere in the world has been willing to not only open up their data for people to “hack” but actually host a “hack day” to bring people together to do so.

At least not until last Friday and Saturday, when GovHack, an initiative of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce was held at the ANU in CSIRO’s ICT Lab and the ANU’s Computer Science department. Around 150 “hackers” (hacking, btw, is a typically positive term among developers, it’s only in mainstream usage that it tends to have negative connotations) from all over Australia came together and built numerous incredibly sophisticated web applications and mashups, some, like the Judge’s overall winners “Lobby Clue” by teams of people who’d never even met before the day.

Govhack kicked off with an hour or so of short sharp presentations, by members of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, and the developer community, along with “data owners”, both in Government and commercial, spruiking their data wares to the assembled hacker community.

Teams then got down to business, exploring the growing number of government data sets available online, “speed dating” to find hackers in search of teams with skills they needed, and planning their hacks.

Throughout the night, teams coded away, fuelled by caffeine (and it must be said excellent food, fruit, juices, and camaraderie.) Even well after midnight, a couple of dozen remained working, with a palpable buzz in the air, while Taskforce chair Dr Nicholas Gruen was still to be found discussing the merit of various sites and hacks at 2am. A dozen or so hardy souls even managed to hack all night.

Saturday morning saw new teams arrive, and the less hardy return from hotel rooms and home to restart their development. Senator Kate Lundy, now dubbed the “Patron Senator of Geeks” spent quite some time interviewing various participants, with the video hopefully available soon. As the 4pm deadline loomed, frantic (geek speak alert) XML to JSON conversions, JavaScript debugging and API reverse engineering were occurring throughout the CSIT Building on the ANU Campus.

Just what was achieved for all the effort? Before turning to some of the genuinely outstanding projects, a few outcomes from the event illustrate the breadth of the achievements. A few teams found themselves in need of postcode to Local Government Authority conversions, but while the data was sort of available, it was far from easily usable. Stephen Lead from LPMA in NSW took the less than ideal data and transformed it into a far more usable format. Then Mark Mansour from Sensis created a database and API (an Application Programming Interface is a standardized way of applications talking to one another) for the data, to make it much easier for anyone to use. Within an hour or two, two teams at GovHack were actually using this API. In a similar vein, Rob Manson, from MOB created a single JSON API to many of the disparate data sources available on data.australia.gov.au. Meanwhile, the NSW State Government launched their new data catalogue to make sure the data was available for GovHack.

So what exactly did people build? In all there were around 20 projects presented at the end of the 24 hours, almost all of which were conceived and built at the event itself. Many were geo/mapping focussed, but others focussed on data visualisation and exploration, the next wave of web applications in many people’s opinion. The level of complexity, sophistication, and novelty of many of the projects was extraordinary, given the tight time constraints. Projects that you can actually use right now included (keep in mind their alpha state)

  • The overall winners LobbyClue, by a team comprising members many of whom had never met before the event. LobbyClue is an in-depth visualisation of lobbying groups’ relations to government agencies, including tenders awarded, links between the various agencies, and physical office locations
  • Know where you live, a stylish presentation of ABS data (along with Flickr Geocoded photos), pulling in relevant information for a particular postcode: rental rates, average income, crime rates, and more. Built by a team of developers who work at News Digital Media.
  • What the Federal Government Does, an enormous tag cloud of the different functions of government, combined with visualisations of government functions shared between departments.
  • Rate A Loo demonstrates a community engagement idea, seeded with government provided data. Allows users to locate and then rate the condition of public toilets.
  • It’s buggered, mate, In true Australian style, allows you to report buggered toilets, roads, etc, with an easy-to-use graphical interface overlayed on a map. Their idea was to combine this with local government services to fix issues in the community. Built by a team of developers from Lonely Planet.
  • Many more fantastic projects can be found at the GovHack site.

A huge thanks to AGIMO and the Taskforce for enabling it all, CISRO’s ICT Lab and the ANU Computer Science Department for providing a venue and network facilities, to Microsoft, whose Project Fund helped make GovHack a reality. Numerous volunteers from AGIMO and the web developer community helped ensure the success of GovHack, and a big thanks to them as well. And of course the participation of so many developers from all over the country ensured that the event produced lasting value. Hopefully more than a few of the 24 hour hacks turn into applications we’ll be using for years to come. Above all thanks to you.

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Opening Pandora’s Box – Making Government 2.0 Websites More Accessible http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/14/accessibility-comp/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/14/accessibility-comp/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2009 05:33:46 +0000 Peter Alexander [Taskforce Secretariat] http://gov2.net.au/?p=1180 The rise of new Web 2.0 technologies and content models brings with it increasingly complex challenges for Government agencies to keep their websites accessible e.g AJAX objects, dynamic content, Rich Internet Applications and user generated content.

While we want our Government agencies to be braver and experiment with these new technologies and content models, we don’t want them to abandon their responsibilities to provide universal access to public sector information by applying best practice in accessibility and usability.

To reward rather than punish some of our braver agencies, we thought we would run a slightly different type of contest that will give them a helping hand to improve the accessibility of their Government 2.0 websites. To help the Taskforce with this process, we have enlisted the assistance of Media Access Australia to help us select, review and hopefully also fix-up a couple of Government 2.0 websites.

Are we opening Pandora’s Box by running a contest about Government 2.0 accessibility? Most probably yes, but we can’t ignore the elephant in the room and the best way we reinforce the message that accessibility is just as serious a responsibility for Government 2.0 website as it was for Government 1.0 is to lead by example and show that Government 2.0 and accessibility can comfortably co-exist.

The Challenge

We want you to nominate Government websites that have implemented Web 2.0 technologies and techniques so we can put them up for an accessibility make-over (which won’t be nearly as cheesy as those make over reality TV shows).

The Makeover Process

Based on your nominations and feedback, we will select up to five websites that will be added to the Australian Web Access Review website for two weeks to obtain more detailed community and user feedback. Based on this feedback, MAA will prepare a “makeover” action plan with recommendations for how these sites could be given a makeover to improve their accessibility.  The Taskforce will then engage with the agencies about how they can implement their action plan, and we may even commission a project to engage a consultant to provide them with any technical assistance or expertise that they need. We can’t promise that this process will fix every accessibility issue with these websites, but we think we can make some real progress that will inspire and teach other agencies how to handle some of the accessibility challenges of web 2.0 (which should make it easier for them to embrace Government 2.0).

Category Prize

As with the Suggest a Dataset challenge, no prizes will be awarded in this category – any improvements to agency websites we can facilitate will be a reward that everyone can benefit from!

Entries for this challenge are due by 5pm, October 30 5PM, November 6, although after that we’ll leave the IdeaScale page open and running for continued discussion and participation.

Also note that as before all submissions will be subject to the IdeaScale Terms and Conditions, which also has instructions about how to create an account for our IdeaScale page.

Visit Government 2.0 Taskforce Ideas – Web 2.0 Accesibility Makeover

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Over the Rainbow – Not for Profit PSI Project Ideas http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/09/not-for-profit-psi/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/09/not-for-profit-psi/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:08:58 +0000 Peter Alexander [Taskforce Secretariat] http://gov2.net.au/?p=1141 The not-for-profit sector constantly juxtaposes visionary ideas for improving society against a reality of limited resources and expertise – including cheap and timely access to relevant public sector information.

But what if we could change one of the ground rules by opening up public sector data sets for use in a not-for-profit setting?  What possibilities for improving our society and our democracy would this seemingly simple mind-shift open up?

Rather than waiting around for this to happen, the Taskforce has decided to run another contest to fast-track the generation of ideas for using public sector data in a not-for-profit setting, and help the winner turn this idea into a project proposal.

Category Prize

The Taskforce will select the best idea(s) for using public sector information in a not for profit setting and award a cash donation of $5,000 to a charity/not-for-profit organisation of the winner’s choice.  The winner(s) (or their nominated not-for-profit organisation) will be provided assistance from Connecting Up Australia to scope their idea as project proposal that the Taskforce can consider funding from the Project Fund.

Entries for the competition are due by 5pm, October 30 5Pm, November 6, although after that we’ll leave the IdeaScale page open and running for continued discussion and participation.

Also note that as before all submissions will be subject to the IdeaScale Terms and Conditions, which also has instructions about how to create an account for our IdeaScale page.

Visit Government 2.0 Taskforce Ideas – Not For Profit PSI

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Your Invitation to MashUpAustralia http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/09/30/your-invitation-to-mashupaustralia/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/09/30/your-invitation-to-mashupaustralia/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2009 06:09:56 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=1113

Today the Government 2.0 Taskforce is launching its MashupAustralia contest that we blogged about earlier here and here. To fuel your innovative mashup juices, around 59 datasets from the Australian and State and Territory Governments have been released at data.australia.gov.au on license terms and in formats that permit and enable mashup. The contest will begin accepting entries next week on 7 October 2009 and close on 6 November 2009.

You can enter as an individual or as a team. Anyone who is an Australian resident/citizen is eligible for prizes (teams must have at least one Australian resident/citizen as a member).

Over 15 Australian Government agencies have released data as diverse as Australian Federal Electoral Boundaries, Location of Centrelink Offices and World Heritage Areas in Australia. Through the Online Communications Council’s Digital Economy Group, State and Territory Governments have released datasets such as Surface Water Gauging Stations Queensland, South Australian Boat Ramp Locator and ACT – Barbecue (BBQ) Locations. There are cultural collections and plenty of quirky datasets too!

All datasets are released on license terms that permit and enable mashup (e.g., Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Attribution license) and in formats such as CSV and XML.

Prizes include:
• $10,000 for Excellence in Mashing category
• $5,000 for Highly Commendable Mashups
• $2,500 for Notable Mashing Achievements

In addition, we are also offering some additional prizes for the following categories:
• $2,000 for the People’s Choice Mashup prize
• $2,000 for the Best Student entry
• $1,000 bonuses awarded for the data transformations

We may even award more than one prize for each category if we are overwhelmed by quality mashups.

We are thrilled to have a starting panel of expert judges including Mark Pesce, Futurist/Author/Judge of ABC’s “New Inventors”; Nathan Yergler, Creative Commons Chief Technology Officer; Abigail Thomas, Head of Strategic Development, ABC Innovation, ABC; Regina Kraayenbrink, Web Futures Strategy Team, Australian Bureau of Statistics; and Seb Chan Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum (and Taskforce member).

More information about the contest can be found on the About page and in the Contest Rules.

Remember, this is a prototype in many ways for Australian governments to do this type of thing and we are looking forward to learning as we go. We welcome your feedback either through the blog or via the contest site or wherever you choose to share your views. We do hope, however, that your use of the data, your feedback and nature of community engagement will be in keeping with the spirit of the contest, namely to showcase the benefits of open access to public sector information.

In the meantime, happy mashing and we can’t wait to see what you create…

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Innovate, Mash, Camp: Govt 2.0 Contest Update http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/09/22/innovate-mash-camp-govt-2-0-contest-update/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/09/22/innovate-mash-camp-govt-2-0-contest-update/#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2009 06:56:22 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=1079 A while back, we outlined some of the contests we hoped to hold that would demonstrate gov2.0 objectives, engage the community and be fun.

Given some months (and lots of work) has now elapsed, it seems timely to give a little update about where we are up to…

# a government innovation contest:

The government innovation contest was launched in early September, along with a structured brainstorming contest and a dataset nomination contest. These closed two days ago, on Sunday 20 September, and we had a great response. Thank you!! The results from these contests will be announced shortly.

# an open access to PSI + the ‘tools of liberation’ contest:

 

This is the one that I personally am most excited about. We are on track for launching this, possibly as early as next week. The combined forces of the Secretariat and my colleagues at DBCDE (thanks Judi and James) have been hard at work securing the agreement of at least 12 (yep, count them) federal agencies and at least four (possibly more) out of our seven states and territories to release datasets for use in the contest … (drum roll) in RDF, XML, JSON, CSV or XLS formats and under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia license.

Consistent with global trends for the release of government data and a significant achievement for a country with Crown Copyright and without (presently, at least) a national information policy, we have enough people working with foresight within our federal and state governments who were happy to release data for this contest on real open access terms/formats.

# NEW NEW NEW: mashup camp(s)

We realise that data doesn’t just mash itself up. We also want to bring the community together to share and collaborate. In an effort to do this, we are working on organising at least one mashup camp to be held in Sydney in late October/ early November. We also hope to hold one in Canberra in mid-October. Just to give y’all a heads up that we are trying to give you a formal forum to get your innovative juices flowing to mashup the data that we have liberated.

# a gov.au makeover:

Unfortunately, this contest will not be going ahead. We haven’t been able to get enough agencies interested in sufficient time to allow this to be completed during the Taskforce’s lifetime (which ends in December). All experience is good experience though and it shows us all how challenging it can be to get the necessary sign-offs for new and innovative ideas within a short time-frame within government.

More soon….feedback welcome….

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Hack, Mash and Innovate: Contests Coming Soon http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/08/13/hack-mash-and-innovate-contests-coming-soon/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/08/13/hack-mash-and-innovate-contests-coming-soon/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2009 03:11:21 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=525 It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that #gov2au is planning to hold some contests.

No surprise because our guiding document (the terms of reference, you read those in detail, right?) said we would “fund initiatives and incentives which may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish government 2.0 objectives.” No surprise because other international efforts at more open/ Web 2.0-y government have also held contests. No surprise because contests are fun and get all of us engaged.

Our current thinking is for three contests to be held…

# a gov.au makeover:

what? a select number of Australian government agencies will work collaboratively with each other and with community experts to build a new widget or online presence.

why? the Internet is now the most common way Australians last made contact with government. However,  feedback suggests that there is considerable room for improvement in relation to searchability, useability etc. In addition, attempts to introduce more Web 2.0 tools into government websites have met with challenges and technical difficulties. This contest will combine the highly skilled and innovative ideas of those in the community with present architecture and information requirements of government websites. The purpose is to identify the best ideas and possibilities for government websites, free (for a limited time and purpose) of the usual legal, process or other constraints that may apply when agencies work to upgrade their websites or develop online tools. The aim is to imagine the possibilities with government websites to inform the Taskforce’s work and to possibly provide agencies with useful suggestions, models and solutions.

Tell us… what kinds of features would you like to see government websites have or what tools governments could, or should, offer; which government websites you think work well, which ones leave room for improvement….

# a government innovation contest

what? a contest to recognise, incentivise and showcase existing Web 2.0 innovators in the Australian Government.

why? despite existing constraints, various government agencies are trying and succeeding at innovative uses of technology, including Web 2.0, and promoting greater openness.

Tell us… which agencies you think are doing government 2.0 well so we make sure they get the nomination form for the contest.

# an open access to PSI + the ‘tools of liberation’ contest

what? we are working to make some datasets from various jurisdictions available on open access terms and in formats that permit and enable reuse. If we find that an agency is willing to make data available but can’t because of a legacy system, we will outline the technical requirements and post it as a challenge to build and open source a tool that will help that agency (and possibly others) “liberate” the data.

why? discussions about the benefits of open access to PSI are often overshadowed by a focus on the risks and issues. However, much of the PSI which would be made open access for greatest community benefit does not raise these issues. An open access contest will showcase how something as simple as, for example, toilet data, public transport information, water information or census data, can deliver benefits to the research, commercial and community sectors.

As a practical matter, open access to PSI raises many challenges, some of which may be “hidden” (for want of a better word), e.g. the best data may be in legacy systems and difficult to make available to the public. This contest would incentivise people to develop open source tools that will facilitate and enable open access to PSI, particularly legacy PSI. The release of these tools could further the Taskforce’s objectives by providing tangible methods of enabling greater open access in future and potentially form the building blocks for a “data.gov.au” platform.

Tell us… what data you would like to see included in the contest.

What are the prizes? Great question. We’re still figuring out the details. Money, sure. However, we’re also trying to get creative. For the New York City BigApps contest, one prize is dinner with New York mayor Michael Blomberg. So tell us what, aside from money, would make you want to particpate more…

Don’t like these ideas? Got a better one? Great – we will shortly be launching a brainstorming and ideas site so that you can tell us what we missed. Or you can tell us now in the comments.

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