Participating

[Work in progress!] Look out: This information will soon move over to the Participant Handbook

Event Tickets

Event tickets have now been released for 2016. Please view your region page and click through to the Eventbrite registration page, for your chosen region and event. You must have a GovHack Event ticket to attend events.

You’ll see all the events for your region/state on the Eventbrite page. This is on purpose! If you have your eye on a particular event, and it happens to fill up, why not consider another nearby event (if available)? 🙂

You need to register individually, even if you are in a team. We don’t require registrations for teams prior to the event, but once the event begins, you will be given further information about how to list your team on Hackerspace.

If you are under 18, a parent or guardian’s consent will be required in order for you register. Your guardian must be present at all times while you are at the venue. You will be required to supply the name of your guardian and emergency contact information with your ticket registration. If you forgot to do this please get in touch with your local organisers. If you are competing at a youth node, your guardian is not required to attend (as the hosts of our youth nodes have state working with children accreditation e.g. Blue Card, WWCC, and similar).

Arriving at Events

All GovHack Ticket Holders must head to the welcome desk on arrival.

Generally doors will open from 6.00pm on Friday 29 July, but check your chosen events location page.

At the welcome desk, Participants, Guardians and Observers will be provided with a GovHack name badge and lanyard that must be worn at all times. This lanyard will give you access to the venue over the weekend and will help the crew manage the safety at the event. You will also be given details on Internet access at the venue.

Event Crew and Mentors will also have a lanyard that identifies them at events so you know who can help you.

How to have a 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!

  1. Read the What to Bring, Food, and Wellbeing sections below to make sure you have everything you need to stay happy, healthy, and productive.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 by the start of the weekend, you’ll be an expert by Sunday!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, as these can be time consuming. Think about what you’re interested in doing in the weeks leading up to GovHack, and see if you can find some of the datasets you’ll need.

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.

  • Laptop
  • Mouse and mousepad
  • Adaptors and power cables
  • Headphones
  • 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

What to bring: the 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

Food

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 you’re attending a Node Event you may need to bring your own food. Check with your friendly local organising team! (If you skipped ahead – Node Events are explained on the first page of this document)

If you have any special dietary needs, let us know on the sign-up form (or contact us, if you forgot to 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: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Sunday: Breakfast, lunch

The organisers will have endeavored to accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements. If you have severe allergies or important dietary requirements make sure that you have provided that information at registration.

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. And don’t forget to back up your work, to avoid any last-minute panic.)
  • Stretch!
  • 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.)

Teams

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. 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.

if you don’t have a team then can come to the GovHack Connections event in your state to connect with other like minded participants to form a team. GovHack connections event will be held early July, details will be released soon.

Observers

There will 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 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.

Photography, video and audio recording

GovHack is subject to extensive recording in video, audio and photographic form. By attending, you acknowledge and accept that you may be the subject of such recording. We will seek to accommodate any specific wish not to be recorded, but cannot guarantee you will not be recorded in some form.

Internet connectivity

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.

Social media

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.

Handles and Hashtags

#GovHack @GovHackAU  — see our Social Media page for more

Please also share your photos of the event through Instagram tagged #GovHack, Flickr tagged #GovHack, or other channels! A list of our handles/hashtags can be found on our social media page and on our newsroom.

Public transport

Consult your local event for information on getting there on public transport.

Parking

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 onsite. 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

OH&S 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, 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 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 – do you really need to be moving that? Check with a GovHack volunteer before moving anything larger than a laptop.

First aid

If a person is unconscious or requires an ambulance, immediately dial 000.

Emergency procedures

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 onsite.

Event programme

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.

Event roadmap

You have only approximately 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.

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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 new technology when your stressed takes twice as long as you want… so factor these elements into your days plans.

  • Finalise your storyboard script. This is your chance to sell your data reuse idea to the judges
  • Finalise building your entry or if your running out of time focus 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 some sleep and quality coding time, you may want to consider organising your team into shifts, so that 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 (opened on the Friday of the competition) 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 not 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 and 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 that 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 a few prizes not all the prizes.  The best way to maximise your chance to win is to use a dataset from the National official list and a datasets from your local competition and to check for any Prize category eligibility criteria such as a specific datasets.
  • Outcomes from the project itself (any code, graphics, mashups, applications, website URLs, photos of each  stage to create your artistic representation etc) which 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 Googledocs 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 life easy and add the link to t
  • A pre-recorded video (maximum three minutes) embedded 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 show 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, et cetera – 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 Local time – Hackerspace opens and prize categories are announced for your region
  • 12pm Saturday Local time-all competitors must register as a user on Hackerspace.
  • 5pm Saturday Local time – 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 Local  time – Your video should be finalised and a URL linking to your video created to load on your Project page. It may take some time for your video to load once you have started the process
  • 5pm Sunday local time –  You MUST have all parts of your competition entry finalised by 5:00pm Local time which includes 1) your team page, 2) your data story description and detail of datasets used 3) your Project outcomes (demo’s, code, graphics, photos submitted, and 4) your video link uploaded.

Prizes and Judging

All prizes you can compete for will be announced on 29 July at your registered Official GovHack Location 2016 launch party at 7pm! After then you can find the prizes listed on the Competition Portal. Teams are eligible for some great prizes, including:

  • International Prizes categories
  • Australian or New Zealand GovHack Major Prize categories
  • Australian Bounty Prize categories
  • Local Prizes

You must nominate which prizes you are competing for on your HackerSpace project page.

Team Prizes

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 *.edu.au or *.gov.au email address.

Hackers Vote

A Hackers Vote award will be issued to the highest voted overall project. There are four weeks you can nominate 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).

Spirit Prizes

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.

Judging Criteria

Teams are required to submit the following as part of their competition entry:

All GovHack entries will be judged by the GovHack Competition Judging Panel against the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • 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)

Judging

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 Submissions elements detailed in “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 be 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 finalists from each location will be chosen to fly to the awards. More details to be advised after the main event.

Using Open Data

You will find the list of Official data available for the GovHack competition in the Competition Portal. There are datasets at different levels from national through to local. 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).

Eligibility for Prizes

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).  For all virtual competitors you must be a resident of the state or territory to participate.

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.

Authorised materials

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 licensed. 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 (eg. 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 licenced 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.

Disclaimer

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.