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GeoNext Hackfest launch

- July 30, 2015 in Government data, Melbourne

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne we helped launch a 2 week open data hackfest leading up to the spatial conference GeoNext. The competition rewards the most innovative use of official competition APIs from Airbus Defence & Space, What 3 Words, HERE Maps, and the Victorian Government. Participants must submit a web-accessible demo by midnight on August the 12th to be eligible for the $7500 prize pool. Staff from VicRoads, who are running the hackfest and provided refreshments for the launch, were there in force. Brent from HERE Maps showed the incredible range of services available through the HERE Developer portal, which is open to anyone throughout the hackfest. Airbus are providing access to high resolution satellite imagery, available through a range of geospatial services – see the hackfest page for the details. And What3Words provides an alternative, simpler location service in which any location on earth can be specified with three words. Full details of the competion are at www.geonext.com.au/hackfest. Steve Bennett’s slides with a summary are here.

GeoNext Hackfest launch

- July 30, 2015 in Government data, Melbourne

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne we helped launch a 2 week open data hackfest leading up to the spatial conference GeoNext. The competition rewards the most innovative use of official competition APIs from Airbus Defence & Space, What 3 Words, HERE Maps, and the Victorian Government. Participants must submit a web-accessible demo by midnight on August the 12th to be eligible for the $7500 prize pool. Staff from VicRoads, who are running the hackfest and provided refreshments for the launch, were there in force. Brent from HERE Maps showed the incredible range of services available through the HERE Developer portal, which is open to anyone throughout the hackfest. Airbus are providing access to high resolution satellite imagery, available through a range of geospatial services – see the hackfest page for the details. And What3Words provides an alternative, simpler location service in which any location on earth can be specified with three words. Full details of the competion are at www.geonext.com.au/hackfest. Steve Bennett’s slides with a summary are here.

GeoNext Hackfest launch

- July 30, 2015 in Government data, Melbourne

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne we helped launch a 2 week open data hackfest leading up to the spatial conference GeoNext. The competition rewards the most innovative use of official competition APIs from Airbus Defence & Space, What 3 Words, HERE Maps, and the Victorian Government. Participants must submit a web-accessible demo by midnight on August the 12th to be eligible for the $7500 prize pool. Staff from VicRoads, who are running the hackfest and provided refreshments for the launch, were there in force. Brent from HERE Maps showed the incredible range of services available through the HERE Developer portal, which is open to anyone throughout the hackfest. Airbus are providing access to high resolution satellite imagery, available through a range of geospatial services – see the hackfest page for the details. And What3Words provides an alternative, simpler location service in which any location on earth can be specified with three words. Full details of the competion are at www.geonext.com.au/hackfest. Steve Bennett’s slides with a summary are here.

GeoNext Hackfest launch

- July 30, 2015 in Government data, Melbourne

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne we helped launch a 2 week open data hackfest leading up to the spatial conference GeoNext. The competition rewards the most innovative use of official competition APIs from Airbus Defence & Space, What 3 Words, HERE Maps, and the Victorian Government. Participants must submit a web-accessible demo by midnight on August the 12th to be eligible for the $7500 prize pool. Staff from VicRoads, who are running the hackfest and provided refreshments for the launch, were there in force. Brent from HERE Maps showed the incredible range of services available through the HERE Developer portal, which is open to anyone throughout the hackfest. Airbus are providing access to high resolution satellite imagery, available through a range of geospatial services – see the hackfest page for the details. And What3Words provides an alternative, simpler location service in which any location on earth can be specified with three words. Full details of the competion are at www.geonext.com.au/hackfest. Steve Bennett’s slides with a summary are here.

Meet the data owners: VicRoads

- April 18, 2015 in event, Melbourne, Open Data, open knowledge melbourne, open knowledge night, vicroads

Phil Reid, Steve Bennett (Open Knowledge), Evan Quick, Adrian Porteous.

Phil Reid, Steve Bennett (Open Knowledge), Evan Quick, Adrian Porteous.

VicRoads is one of the most engage Victorian government departments and agencies. On Wednesday night, Adrian Porteous, Evan Quick and Phil Reid came to fill us all in on open data activities happening inside VicRoads – and to listen to what the community is looking for next. Need some data? They’re all ears – try one of them on Twitter, or maybe even Suggest a Dataset.
First, an overview. VicRoads has an enormous amount of data, broadly divided into road infrastructure, traffic, crashes, registration and licensing, and other spatial data (such as preferred heavy vehicle routes). They have 20 datasets on data.vic.gov.au, and another 20 spatial datasets on their ESRI open data portal. They also have some useful applications which aren’t really open data, like CrashStats and VicTraffic.There’s some pretty useful stuff there, like the speed zones and annual traffic volumes per road segment.
But by their own admission, they have a long way to go. They have at least 650 potential spatial datasets, many of which could be very useful if made open. For example, there are on average 5 bridge collisions per day across the network. Releasing the location and height of every bridge could lead to apps and maps to reduce that. They have the data, but it’s not perfect. They have “weight in motion” data (are trucks overweight?) and lots of others.
There were great questions from the audience, like where to go to find information about trucks improperly using residential roads and how to access realtime traffic light data (it’s hard but in progress).
Great questions from the audience.

Great questions from the audience.

Finally, a sneak preview of VicRoads street-level imagery on Mapillary, which has just received final approval for a mass import of imagery across the whole VicRoads network.

Giselle Sperber, Code for America Fellow

- March 19, 2015 in chattanooga, code for america, event, Government data, Melbourne, opendata

Tonight we heard from Giselle Sperber, 2014 Code for America fellow who’s finishing up a brief stint with the Victorian Government. Code for America is a pretty remarkable non-profit expanding across the US, and now the world. The model pairs teams of three (usually a designer, a front-end developer, and a database/back end developer) with local governments who are embracing openness and trying to better serve their citizens. Cities bid for the right to receive these fellowship teams, and potential fellows similarly have to go through a selection process. The fellows work on incredibly varied projects, from redesigning crappy forms, to creating GTFS feeds from public transport data, to building Discover BPS, an easy to use school selection system for parents. Giselle, a user experience designer/researcher, was working with Chattanooga, Tennessee, but based in San Francisco, where CfA also provides training and ongoing support to fellows. Most recently she’s been embedded with the Victorian Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, working on a potential redesign of the vic.gov.au platform. There’s lots of information and the odd YouTube video about Giselle’s activities at the Chattanooga Code for America page. If you’re interested in helping get this model working in Australia, get in touch with codeforaustralia.org. Giselle’s slides: “Working Together Works

Open Weather Data with the Weather Chaser

- March 13, 2015 in bom, event, Government data, Melbourne, opendata, theweatherchaser, weather

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne, John Barratt gave us an overview of all the open weather data available. John runs a few sites, including TrendsMap (commercial services identifying patterns in Twitter data), The Weather Chaser (a decade’s worth of official weather data, with interesting analysis and discovery interfaces), and Will I Get Wet, a localised rain predictor. John’s a serious amateur weather data archivist, starting more than a decade ago to work out where the snow would be best for snowboarding. Weather data is a bit different from a lot of the other open data we talk about. For starters, most of the straight observational data is already “open”. You can download it straight from the Bureau’s website. But it’s basically just a gigantic FTP site with no documentation to help you find your way around. Jump in. Have a look. ftp://ftp.bom.gov.au/anon/gen/. John calls this process “dumpster diving”. An easier approach is to use other sites that harvest weather data from around the world, including Australia, and generate forecasts and other processed data from that. For example, the US’s “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” has lots of data that is also useful to Australians. When we get John’s slides, we’ll link them here.