GovHack is the annual volunteer-run event where hackers challenge themselves to ‘hack’ government open data. Across 27 locations in Australia and New Zealand, the hackers search for new applications and uses for the data, and chase bounties set by government agencies. Run over a weekend, the bounties are set on the Friday night and hackers have 46 hours to submit their solution, complete with a logo and pitch video!
This year there were over 2300 hackers who took part in GovHack. IP Australia’s bounty was the seemingly simple question: “What happened to my IP right?” We provided participants with a welcome pack to aid their knowledge of IP Rights and our systems. We also released a demonstration version of IPGOD just for GovHack called DemiGOD.
Our staff helped at two GovHack locations, Canberra and Melbourne, and also assisted with around the clock support on social media channels. Canberra was part Inter-Departmental Committee, part cola and pizza-fest as hackers, mentors and coaches got together to talk data. The Melbourne event was hosted at the impressive Telstra Innovation lab, a quiet space which provided hackers with their own working areas. Applicants were sent home to sleep every night but that didn’t stop us getting online questions at 4am!
Jeremy Rees represented IP Australia and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science at GovHack. He comments: “There was one hacker that said they didn’t sleep all weekend. The Snow Centre at Canberra Grammar School had excellent facilities and was open from 8am to 10pm, so beyond that people worked from home. There was a good vibe at the event. We had many mentors as well as reps from government agencies that had supplied data, like the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”
The various hackers did a great job working with our data. Our bounty page shows all the projects. There were three which got to the heart of “Where is my IP right?”:
Patent Pending TM (video)– is an app developed for Android which lets you search for patents and trade marks filed at IP Australia, see where they are in the application process, and notifies you of changes to the status. The app also lets you subscribe to a set of patents and predicts roughly how long an application will be at each stage.
Pending Unicorns (video) – is an Apple iOS app which lets you interact with an Alex-like virtual assistant who will provide you status updates for existing patent and trade mark applications. The app also allows you to tag favourites and subscribe to updates, and provides an average expected pendency for each step.
The IP Gods (video) – is a web-app which allows you to search for patents, subscribe to status updates for the patents you want to follow through the process, and provides a technology level prediction of when the next action will occur.
GovHack competitors embodied their usual collaborative ethos, with hackers helping each other navigate the data and solve problems. Now IP Australia will vote for our favourite submissions and hand out prizes for the most successful bounties! Hopefully this year we will find the next IP NOVA!
You can find a list of projects by Canberra participants here.