Regional Queenslanders win big in annual open data awards

Published Friday, 20 October, 2017 at 09:00 AM

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

A Sunshine Coast team behind a drone that delivers medicine to isolated customers is among a swag of successful Queenslanders who collected gold medals and honourable mentions at a recent international event to celebrate the use of government data in solving community problems.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said today (Friday) the team – High Flyers – won two categories at the GovHack 2017 International Red Carpet event held in Brisbane earlier this month.

Ms Enoch said the team devised “The Health Craft’ to deliver medicines by drones to people who are isolated for health or other reasons.

“It’s a phone app that tracks the delivery, giving the customer updates all the way, and gets their okay to land and take off,” Ms Enoch said.

“Some other winning Queensland-built ideas included a web tool to instantly locate potential customers, a daily forecast of emergency patients, and a multilingual e-guide for tourists. These are some terrific examples of the talent we have in Queensland, especially in the regions,” she said.

Ms Enoch said the GovHack 2017 International Red Carpet event showcased how businesses, government authorities and other organisations can put freely available government data to good use.

She said Queensland teams won nine (30 per cent) of the categories, as well as collecting four runners up awards and 12 honourable mentions, in addition to the gong for best local government.

“Congratulations to all teams, and the Logan City Council for winning the award for Best Local Government Participation across Australia and New Zealand, which was a significant achievement,” Ms Enoch said.

“Governments collect and produce data in many areas as part of their business, and when we put it in the hands of entrepreneurs and innovators, they breathe new life into it.

“GovHack encourages government agencies to release and refresh data and make it easier to understand. The results drive home the importance of making more data available for public use.”

Other winners included: 

  • Emergency Department Load Forecasting – created by Gold Coast’s Beast Mode team who collected three awards – is like a daily weather forecast for hospital emergency departments. It helps hospitals anticipate patient loads and assign resources accordingly. 
  • The True Daily Double team from Toowoomba used datasets from different jurisdictions to create a tourist information guide for non-English speaking visitors to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Their prototype of Ask Borobi has given the Games official mascot his own Facebook page and will be transferred to other applications and platforms. 
  • Capricorn Rising, a team of creatives from Livingstone Shire in the Rockhampton region, won an award for their visualisation tool, Market Finder, which helps people with no statistical or marketing training interrogate Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Users choose a geographical area and add layer upon layer of census data to create a heat map which is valuable for due diligence or to instantly locate clusters of likely customers. 
  • Team Forward Thinkers from Rockhampton was also a winning entry, beating finalists from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with their SciSearch app. The app guides science and technology students to specialised higher education and connects academics and businesses around the world to Queensland education facilities and equipment. 
  • Brisbane team Pollutant at the Disco decided the National Pollutant Inventory dataset would be more understandable if they visualised it. The team won an award for their Emissions Visualizer app, which makes it easier to find out about local industries, substances they emit, and associated health effects. 

In its eighth year, GovHack is the world’s largest open data hackathon and Australia’s largest hackathon. Over 2500 participants in 36 locations across Australia and New Zealand took part this year.

In a 46-hour weekend, participants formed teams, collaborated on a problem, built a prototype, published code, and made a video showing what the team created. The prototypes progressed to state finals and the winners to the Red Carpet Awards which also included New Zealand entries.

The Queensland Government has published more than 2400 datasets and 9000 resources covering transport, traffic, justice, land use, housing, tourism, births and deaths, and many other areas.

For more information about the winning teams from GovHack 2017, visit


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