Welcome To GovHack
How to have a great hackathon
What to bring
Teams & Social
Occupational Health & Safety
Submitting your entry
Submission time frames
Code of conduct
Welcome to the GovHack Participant Kit for 2015!
This is the One Kit to rule them all to have a great time at GovHack.
Within you’ll find everything you need to know from the code of conduct, to what happens at registration, and details about the lovely volunteers and mentors who are there to ensure you have a great GovHack. It’s packed full of handy tips for how to have a great hackathon, what you should bring with you, when you’ll be fed, how to take care of yourself at GovHack, and much more!
This page contains the generic version of the participant kit, but your local event organisers are hard at work creating local versions where you can find out information like when to arrive, opening hours, public transport options, parking information, and the programme for the whole weekend of what happens when.
Check out the information below, plus check for local information on your local event page.
Good luck, and happy hacking!
Welcome to GovHack 2015!
This is your opportunity to shine! This is your opportunity to craft great outcomes from open government data! And this is your opportunity to compete for some great prizes!
Have a good time, conduct yourself well, enjoy working with others, build relationships, and walk away with the feeling that the cause for open data is just that little bit better. Most of all, let’s see some awesome outcomes!
Consult your local event for location details.
Registration opens: 6pm* Friday July 3rd – check your local venue to confirm opening time
Event concludes: 5pm Sunday July 5th
Official Locations vs Nodes
This year we are spreading the GovHack love further, with the introduction of GovHack Nodes run at community centres to provide our small communities a happy place for hacking together. Nodes are small GovHack events run by passionate volunteers, so that your community can compete for the major National and International GovHack prizes. You may need to pack your own lunch for these events, but we will make sure that while the doors are open there is WiFi, power, and a cosy space.
Check http://govhack.org.nz/#events for a list of the current Official Locations and Node Events.
Volunteers and Mentors
Volunteers are here to help with any general issues you might have with regard to the venue, toilets, moving equipment, catering, access to and from the building, emergencies, and competition rules or issues. If you need help, look for the people wearing GovHack t-shirts or wearing ‘GovHack Organiser’ name badges.
A number of mentors will be available to help with data and technical issues over the weekend. Mentors at the venue will have a bright coloured name badge. The GovHack Hackerspace will also have a community forum during the competition where you can ask for mentor assistance from helpers not at your location. Data mentors are here to help where they can with the use of specific government datasets. Technical mentors are here to help where they can with your general technical problems. They are also here in case you need someone to bounce ideas around.
If you need data or technical help, look for people wearing GovHack t-shirts or wearing ‘GovHack Mentor’ name badges.
All participants and observers must register on arrival. Registration will be open from 6pm* on Friday 3rd of July (confirm opening time with your local event).
If you are under 18, a parent or guardian’s consent will be required in order for you to participate, and you will be required to supply the name of your guardian during registration. Your guardian must be present at all times while you are at the venue. If you forgot to do this please get in touch with your local organisers.
At registration participants and observers will be provided with a GovHack name badge and lanyard that must be worn at all times. You will also be given details on Internet access at the venue. To assist the organisers’ identifying parents and guardians, we require guardian details and emergency contacts details to be provided with ticket registration on Eventbrite. Guardian/Observer Passes will be provided at the registration desk on opening night. These must be worn at all times to help the crew manage the safety at the event.
How to have great Hackathon
Here’s a list of our top tips for getting the most out of GovHack. If you have any more, email or tweet us and we’ll add your suggestions!
- Read the What to Bring, Food, and Wellbeing sections below to make sure you have everything you need to stay happy, healthy, and productive.
- Have a chat to our mentors (in blue GovHack t-shirts) and organisers (white GovHack t-shirts). We’re all here to help and make sure you get the most out of your weekend, and many of us have competed in hackathons in the past.
- Try not to get your heart set on a single project – if the data simply isn’t available, join a team and be involved in something different. Even if you don’t know much about their topic at the start of the weekend, you’ll be an expert by Sunday!
- Try not to be a perfectionist. (We know it’s hard. We’re perfectionists.) You want to get something up and running for the demo on Sunday evening, even if it’s not perfect.
- Talk to other teams and be generous where you can. We’ve seen teams lending each other coders and designers where there’s been a skill gap, and it’s great to see.
- We’ve said it elsewhere, but seriously, sleep, eat, hydrate, take breaks! And do take some alone-time if you need to recharge away from people.
- If you’re feeling stressed, uncomfortable, or in need of assistance, come chat to one of our organisers. It’s really important to us that GovHack remains a safe, creative, and welcoming space for all participants.
Remember that you’re allowed to do research and project planning before the event – it helps to come prepared. Think about what you’re interested in doing and see if you can find some of the datasets you’ll need prior to the event start.
What to bring
: tech and equipment
Please label your belongings so we can return them to you if you leave them behind.
Here are some of the things we’ve seen people using at GovHack.
- Mouse and mousepad
- Adaptors and power cables
- Portable scanner, spare batteries, SD card
- SD card reader
- USB thumb drives, external hard drives
- Tablet and charger
- Phone and charger
- Drawing tablet and stylus
- Bluetooth adaptor
- USB hub
- Identification or Proof of Age card
: other stuff
GovHack is great fun, but it can also be an intense and stressful weekend at times. Bring what you need to stay productive and comfortable.
- Comfortable clothing
- Ugg boots, fuzzy socks
- A jumper, perhaps a blanket
- Music or podcasts
- Any data you’ve downloaded for the event, or notes you’ve made
- Your favourite snacks and drinks (we’ll provide main meals and healthy snacks!)
- A water bottle
- Glasses, if you need them for reading screens
- Pen, paper, post-its, notebook, coloured markers, your stationery drawer
- Business cards
- Any medications you may need
- Your wallet and keys
We’ll be taking care of your food while you’re at GovHack, so all you need to bring along are any snacks you want.
Note – if attending a Node Event, you may need to bring your own food. Check with your friendly local organising team! (If you skipped ahead to this point, Node Events are explained near the top of this page).
If you have any special dietary needs, let us know on the sign-up form (or contact us if you forgot to tell us when you registered) and we’ll do our best to take care of you. Vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available, but we do need to know numbers so we can make sure there is enough for everyone.
- Friday: Dinner
- Saturday: lunch, dinner
- Sunday: lunch
Wellbeing at GovHack
Taking care of yourself sounds pretty basic, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget over an intense 46 hours at a hackathon. Here are a few glaringly obvious things to bear in mind:
- Try not to get too stressed. It helps to set realistic expectations and to focus on having something ready to demo, perfectionism and feature creep aren’t your friends at a hackathon.
- Don’t forget to back up your work to avoid any last-minute panics.
- Make sure you eat and drink regularly, and not just caffeinated drinks. Hydration is important.
- Take breaks, go outside in the sunshine, tune out the world with headphones.
- Remember to take any medication that you need.
- Try to get plenty of sleep. We don’t recommend being that person who works all night and doesn’t sleep. This recommendation may be based on real life experience.
- Stretch again!
We expect that you will be part of a team already, or will join a team at the start of the competition. You are allowed to compete as an individual but we highly recommend you find other awesome people and join a team. There is no maximum size for a team and the best teams have a mix of skill sets. If you don’t have a team, find a local crew member who will help you meet other GovHackers looking for a team.
There may be observers present at GovHack at various times over the weekend. Observers are only there to ‘observe’. They are allowed to communicate with the participants but are not allowed to assist them in their project. Any participants that are in breach of this rule will be asked to leave and the team involved may be deemed ineligible to compete for prizes.
Photos and videos
You may be photographed, recorded, or video taped as part of the weekend. Please let your event host know if you do not want to be included in these.
Your local venue will provide free WiFi. Details for how you can connect to the WiFi will be provided at registration.
Your WiFi usage, including content downloads, may be monitored as part of general venue security, so please use the access provided with respect and avoid any illegal behaviour.
Please make sure the laptops or computers you bring can connect via WiFi, or that you bring a WiFi dongle. Hardwired connections are not available at all venues.
Twitter will be the primary social media platform that will be used and monitored throughout the event.
Questions, comments, mentions, and cat GIFs can be directed to the National GovHack Twitter account, or to your local GovHack event account.
Please also share your photos of the event through Flickr tagged #GovHack
Consult your local event for information on public transport.
Consult your local event for information on parking.
Security and building access
Consult your local event for information on venue opening hours.
Volunteers will be onsite for every hour of the event. After hours, the building will be locked. A phone number will be placed at the entry to the venue if you have trouble gaining access.
Neither the event organisers nor venue operators can accept responsibility for personal belongings left unattended on site. If you don’t have a trusted person to look after your belongings, we recommend taking them with you if you leave the venue.
Occupational Health and Safety
OHS refers to the policies, procedures, legislations and activities, which aim to protect the health and safety of people within a workplace. Specific ways to limit hazards to yourself or another person whilst participating in GovHack are listed below.
- It is imperative that your health and safety is never compromised.
- If you have any existing injuries that may cause you problems, or are causing problems, inform a volunteer.
- If you notice any hazards, report them immediately to a volunteer (e.g. water spillages).
- Minimise the risk of tripping by getting a volunteer to place gaffer tape over cords, securing them to the floor.
- Place tables and electrical items close to the power outlets whenever possible.
- Bend your knees when you lift.
- If you start to shake, put on some warmer clothes, eat a snack, and/or slow down on the coffee/Red Bull.
Think before you lift!
Manual handling occurs when you are lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, moving, holding, and restraining any person or thing. It’s unlikely you’ll have to lift anything heavy at this event Check with a GovHack volunteer before moving anything larger than a laptop.
If a person is unconscious or requires an ambulance, immediately dial 111, and send someone to get the event organiser to assist.
Details of emergency procedures will be introduced to participants during induction and on display within the venue. Make yourself familiar with these procedures at any time you’re on site.
The GovHack weekend is a frantic, frenzied period of work. We’d love to let you tinker away with your projects for the entire weekend but there’s a bunch of administrative stuff we need to fill you in on. Below is the current plan for how the weekend will run.
Consult your local event for your event programme.
You have around 46 hours to get your entry completed, so here is a guide as to how you might want to allocate your time. This is only a guide, and you can do whatever you want to create and submit your entry.
At 7pm on the Friday night the competition categories are launched and your team can start creating. The first night is all about working together in your team to create an idea that will win you cool stuff. Don’t try to develop concepts that win every prize, focus on one or two categories…. although you want to make sure you at least register your entry for one GovHack and one Local prize to max your chances and yes we know some of you will register for every prize.
- Make a team and register it
- Identify data sets you will use and talk to mentors
- Rule out data that needs too much work
- Map out your entry idea
- Identify possible users and customers
- Determine which Local and GovHack prize categories you are targeting
- Check if these prize categories have data requirements
- Assign roles to team members
- Start creating
- Ask for help
The best teams lock down their concept idea before 10am Saturday. Don’t be afraid to ask data mentors for ideas, after all they know the data best!
- Continue or start creating
- Talk to the mentors
- Consolidate your many ideas into one or two good ones
- Start a storyboard of how you will communicate your ideas
- Take some photos of your team or media that will help your Vid entry
- Submit team registration page and nominate prize categories by the deadline!
- Test and refine the entry
- Keep building
Last years competitors will all tell you the same…….. “it took me all arvo to create my Vid and then we had loading problems….Aggghh Panic!” On average it takes about an hour to load vids on YouTube, and when you’re stressed it always seems to take twice as long as you want… so factor this into your day’s plans.
- Finalise your storyboard script. This is your chance to sell your data reuse idea to the judges
- Finalise building your entry, or if you’re running out of time, focus on screens that will feature in the vid the most
- Arrange for a quiet space to record any audio
- Film your 3 minute presentation video and upload to your team page
- By 2pm you should be in editing mode for your vid
- Get your team page completed to meet all entry criteria
- Aim to start loading your vid to YouTube (or similar) by no later than 4pm
- YouTube gives you a URL link as soon as you start loading your vid – so make sure you grab this and enter it on your project page
- Finish and submit entry by 5pm.
In order to get both sleep and quality coding time, you may want to consider organising your team into shifts. While some are working, others can go home and rest, and then take over to allow the previous shift to get some rest.
Don’t forget to look after yourself: take breaks, eat, drink and go for an occasional walk. Allow some time to get away and freshen up. Showers clear the mind!
Submitting your entry
Hackerspace is the Official GovHack competition submission site and allows you to submit all components required for your team’s Govhack entry. Note: submission elements and times are system controlled, so no extensions are available!
Teams are required to submit the following as part of their competition entry on Hackerspace:
- Register all team members in Hackerspace. If your team win we can only recognise registered team members.
- A descriptive project page listing your team members, details about your project, what data sets have been used and what competition categories (local, national, international) that you are going for. The project page must include your Project Description Data Story. This is a short description that describes how data has been reused and what your project is about. Submit an image that best captures your concept e.g a logo or Image. If you win an award this is what we will use to describe your project.
- Nominate your Prize Categories. When you register your Team Project on the HackerSpace you’ll have access to the International and National competition prizes as well as your relevant local competition prizes to compete for. Teams may register more than one entry; a new project page is required for each entry. You can nominate more than one prize category for each for each project entry, so long as the entry meets the multiple eligibility criteria. At a minimum, please nominate one National and one local prize. We encourage projects to focus on just a few prizes and not all the prizes. The best way to maximise your chance to win is to use a dataset from the National official list, a dataset from your local competition, and to also check for any prize categories for specific sponsored datasets.
- Outcomes from the project itself. Any code, graphics, mashups, applications, website URLs, photos of each stage to create your artistic representation etc… must all be made available under an open source/content licence to be eligible for prizes. If judges are able to see and play with it, that is useful, but this is a minor component of the judging. Teams can put the code/source on GitHub, Sourceforge or an equivalent repository system and must make the URL available on their team page for verification. For artistic works you may need to create a photo library or share a link to a Google Drive folder that contains evidence of the stages of your project.
- Data reused. On your project page you are required to record any data used. This is especially required if the prize categories entered have a data usage requirement for eligibility. Help make judges lives easy and add the link to the data you have used.
- A pre-recorded video (maximum three minutes). Embed a video on your project page that demonstrates your hack in action for the judging panel. The preferred method is to use a screencast with a voice-over narration explaining your hack, why you created it, and what is being shown in the video.
Remember that the judging panel is viewing the videos in isolation and doesn’t necessarily have any context around your project. You may mix in other elements with the screencast, such as footage demonstrating the issues your hack addresses, interviews, live action material you’ve filmed etc… but be aware that videos that don’t focus on showing off the hack itself will not be as valued as ones that do.
You are encouraged to include your team name, event location, team members, and to talk about the data you have used and your data reuse story. Check out the hacker toolkit for some assistance and instruction on how to make a compelling video. Remember: Your video should not take more than a few hours out of your weekend if you keep it simple.
Timeframes to register and submit:
- 7pm Friday – Hackerspace opens and prize categories are announced for your region.
- 12pm Saturday -all competitors must be registered as a user on Hackerspace.
- 5pm Saturday – A Team Project Page and your prize category nomination must be completed in Hackerspace. Record all your team members on your project page and the URL to your proof of concept repository. No new projects pages can be created after this time. You are still able to edit your project page after this time.
- 4pm Sunday – Your video should be finalised and a URL link to your video loaded on your project page. It may take some time for your video to load, but a URL is generally available once you have started the process.
- 5pm Sunday – You MUST have all parts of your competition entry finalised by 5:00pm Local time. This means: 1) your team page, 2) your data story description and detail of datasets used 3) your project outcomes – demos, code, graphics, photos submitted etc…, and 4) your video link uploaded.
All prizes you can compete for will be announced on 3 July at your registered Official GovHack Location 2015 launch party at 7pm! After then you can find the prizes http://govhack.org.nz/prizes/. Teams are eligible for some great prizes, including:
- International Prizes categories
- Australian or New Zealand GovHack Major Prize categories
- Local Prizes
You must nominate which prizes you are competing for on your Hackerspace project page.
There are also a few prizes for particular categories of participants. Teams must self-nominate in the HackerSpace which of the following categories best describes their team and declare the eligible members. Team awards can be nominated for if over 50% of your team members identify with the nominated team category. A youth is anyone 18 years or younger. To be eligible for the Best University or Best Public Servant award please add the relevant competitors *.ac.nz or *.govt.nz email address.
A Hackers Vote award will be issued to the highest voted overall project. There are four weeks available to submit your Hackers Vote. Only registered team members can vote, so make sure all your team members are registered on your project page. You will have 3 voting points which you can allocate over 3 projects (1 point per project).
Each GovHack location will have a Local Spirit of GovHack prize for the team or individual that displays the greatest spirit of GovHack, aka the best “hacker” ethos. This means the team who best helped others, shared, learned, or applied their skills creatively or cleverly. Local Spirit prizes are announced on the Sunday night after the competition. Each local winner will be then up for the GovHack Spirit of GovHack Award announced at the Red Carpet Awards. After GovHack, a limited number of participants who demonstrate real GovHack Spirit will be chosen to fly to the awards event.
All GovHack entries will be judged by the GovHack Competition Judging Panel against the following criteria:
- The relevance to the team nominated category definition
- Specific prize eligibility criteria detailed (if any) e.g. data use, team criteria
- Consistency with contest purposes, including social value
- Quality and design (including standards compliance)
- Usability (including documentation and ease of use)
The GovHack competition judges will choose all winners. The judging panel for prizes will consist of a mix of GovHack organisers, Government agency representatives, and industry sponsors as appropriate for each prize. All submission elements detailed in the “Submitting your entry” section of this document must be completed by the required time. No requests for extensions will be considered. Final arbiter is the judging panel whose decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. This is a competition of skill. Chance plays no part in this competition. Judges are not eligible to compete for prizes.
Winners and Awards
Each winning team must nominate one person to liaise with and provide their details to GovHack organisers following prize announcements to coordinate distribution of prizes after the event and prize money must be evenly split between all team members of winning teams. If all members of your team are under 18 then please nominate a guardian or the Local Event Organsiers who will facilitate the purchase of vouchers to split winnings amongst the team.
Some local prizes may be handed out on the Sunday afternoon, but most prizes will be announced at the Red Carpet Awards. Local Awards nights may also be held. The Red Carpet Awards also present a great opportunity to celebrate all the clever projects from around the country with sponsors, agencies, media and some high profile special guests! After GovHack, a limited number of participants who demonstrate real GovHack Spirit and a finalist from each location will be chosen to fly to the awards. More details to be advised after the main event.
You will find the list of Official data available for the GovHack competition at govhack.org.nz/2015-data/. You must use at least one Official dataset to be eligible for prizes. Check the eligibility requirements of the GovHack National Bounty Prizes and local prizes to see if you need to use a specific dataset or data from a specific Data Publisher or Data Portal for the prize category you want to enter. To maximize your chances to win National and Local prizes we recommend you mash up National and Local official data, giving you a chance in as many categories as possible.
Some datasets listed on data portals may have additional resources available with further information on how to use the data or other supporting material. You are encouraged to download and use these resources. If you have questions about a dataset let a crew member know and we will try to find a data mentor for you or post the question on the Hackerspace forum.
Several competition goals require entries must use at least one of the datasets provided for this contest, but you are free to use data from the official GovHack list or other datasets as long as their licensing terms permit usage for this purpose. You may also use any publicly accessible web services as long as it does not incur a financial cost to use (private and subscription APIs are prohibited due to licensing issues and barrier to entry).
To be eligible for prizes, individual entrants must be either an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a current Australian or New Zealand resident (this includes temporary student residents). For team entrants, at least one member of the team must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a current Australian or New Zealand resident (this includes temporary student residents). It’s only fair – it is an Australian and New Zealand GovHack competition after all. At least one team member must be over 18 (or a guardian must be registered as the Representative to facilitate prizes).
Judges expect entries to be primarily developed throughout the weekend of GovHack. If submissions are shown to have been worked on before the weekend, the submission will be ineligible for prizes. This does not include reuse or extension of existing software, libraries or data sets. Entrants may be members of multiple teams but each team must be registered separately and each team has one entry. There is no maximum team size.
No judges will be eligible to compete for prizes, and individuals from organisations or companies are also not eligible for prizes sponsored by their organisation. Mentors/speakers are eligible to compete for prizes, but judges reserve the right to disqualify a mentor/speaker if they perceive unfairness.
Nature of Submission
Don’t do bad things. This contest has been designed to demonstrate the benefit of open access and Government 2.0. Please participate in and engage with the contest in that spirit and in good faith. You must not include submissions that are:
- potentially libellous, false, defamatory, privacy invasive or overtly political;
- material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which would cause personal distress or loss;
- any commercial endorsement, promotion of any product, service or publication;
- language which is offensive, obscene or otherwise inappropriate; or
- misleading, deceptive, violate a third party’s rights or are otherwise contrary to law.
We reserve the right to reject submissions that do not comply with the letter and spirit of these rules.
You agree to only include code, data, or other materials in a submission for the GovHack contest that you have the right to use and release consist with these Contest Rules.
All code and APIs must be available under an appropriately open license that allows reuse, commercial use, remixing and redistribution. As the owner of the code you can of course fork that code and commercialise if you want, but to be eligible for the competition, the codebase and demonstration submitted must be open sourced. All other content submitted must be Creative Commons BY license. For instance you may choose to submit an incredible dynamic or static data visualisation as your team contribution.
The reason for the open licensing of code and content is because GovHack is about awesome outcomes that anyone can use and build on. Great innovation comes from building on the greatness of those who came before.
Entrants consent to GovHack representatives using their name, likeness, image and/or voice in any media for an unlimited period of time, without remuneration, for any publicity and marketing purposes.
Most datasets available for this contest have been released under a permissive licence such as the Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0. You can also use other material that has been released on similarly liberal terms (ie. it is in the public domain such as US Government materials) or released under another compatible Creative Commons license, the Free Documentation License, the MIT license or BSD license etc… You can use non- Government data licensed for reuse, however remember this is GovHack so you must use some official Government datasets.
Right to remove
Submissions and comments will be posted live, but occasionally they may not make it through our anti-trolling and anti-spamming filters and may need to be moderated manually. We reserve the right to remove or not post any submission that reasonably appears to breach any of these rules.
The GovHack team makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, including warranties of accuracy, in regard to any submissions or links published on the GovHack website.
GovHack should be an awesome experience for everyone. Be nice, play fair, or go home!
Code of Conduct
GovHack should be an awesome experience for everyone. Be nice, play fair, or go home.
By participating in GovHack, as an observer or a competitor, you agree to the following:
I will treat others with respect
I will not abuse, stalk, harass or threaten others. I will not make offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. I will not disrupt other people or the event and I will not make inappropriate physical contact or pay unwelcome sexual attention to other participants.
I will keep it G-rated and be mindful of language
I will not swear or make sexist, racist, or other exclusionary jokes, which may be offensive to those around me. I will behave in a way (only submit competition material) that is suitable for anyone to view, including young children.
I will respect the venue and equipment
I will keep the venue clean and tidy and use the rubbish and recycling bins as appropriate. I will let the organisers know if there are any issues.
I shall follow the competition rules
I will only use authorised materials that I have the right to use and release and will not submit any projects which are potentially libellous, false, defamatory or overtly political or contains material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which would cause personal distress or loss. I will check the website and/or have a chat with one of the organisers if at any stage I am unclear on the competition rules.
I shall look after others and myself
I will remember that we are all here to create, not party. If I am under 18, I will ensure my guardian is with me whenever I am at the venue, and if I am the guardian of a participant under 18 I will ensure I keep an eye on them. If I am feeling uncomfortable, am being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns; I will immediately contact a GovHack organiser.
And remember that the GovHack organisers are in charge and have put a lot of effort in to organising a great event
I will not do anything to ruin it or engage in any behavior that violates this code of conduct. I understand that the GovHack organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warnings or expulsion from the GovHack event. I understand that if I am removed from the event due to inappropriate behavior, I will no longer be eligible to compete for GovHack prizes.