Geraldton problems solvers proved themselves as among the best in the state last weekend as they turned their minds to creating innovative new ways of using government data, as part of the Australian and New Zealand-wide GovHack competition.
One of these teams placed second in its category across the entire state, while a Geraldton mentor, Paul Dowling, won the WA Spirit of GovHack Award.
The GovHack event kicked off at Pollinators’ CityHive on Friday when event organisers released a wide range of data that teams could use to interpret or present in whichever way they could imagine.
Data ranged from natural phenomenon such as rainfall and temperatures to business insolvency statics and population numbers.
With ideas flying around the room, the attendees eventually formed two teams who sought to tackle two vastly different topics.
One team compared data on the numbers of international migrants to regional centres, with the regions' economic growth.
The other developed a prototype for an app that would measure the distances between travel destinations and provide information on the services and rest stops along the way.
The submitted projects were considered by a team judges in Perth, along with entries from across the state, and the app prototype was awarded second place in the Main Roads GovHack Keep Western Australia Moving category.
GovHack facilitator Summer Pirrottina said it was incredible to witness the magic of collaboration in action. “It was amazing to see what a small group of people, who didn’t even know each other before, could create in terms of worthwhile projects,” Ms Pirrottina said.
“They created projects that interpreted dry data and made them into something useful.
“The migration project disproved the notion that migrants steal jobs by showing that our economy in fact grew with an increase in migrant numbers.
“And the road safety app showed how information can be interpreted to provide practical and useful information to help keep drivers safe.”
GovHack Geraldton is supported by Mid West Development Commission, through its Innovation Agenda and commitment to growing a Culture of Innovation, as well as the Mid West's science engagement group Scinapse, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Pollinators and GovHack.