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Help New Zealand Government be more open

Join us in innovating with government data! Later this month, a group of motivated individuals...

Tagged opengovt

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by Sigurd Magnusson

Posted 6 August 2009

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Logo for Open Govt Data Barcamp

Join us in innovating with government data! Later this month, a group of motivated individuals in technical, business, and policy roles are getting together for a single purpose: to collaborate on making government-held data more freely available for others to access and re-use.

The Open Govt Data Barcamp and Hackfest runs over two days. On Saturday 29th August, everyone will join for a barcamp. In contrast to a typical conference, a barcamp is a participant-driven "unconference". Everyone is encouraged to present a talk or host a group discussion. Rather than sitting down and "listening to the experts", this is event is designed to get a group of influential and smart people together to form ideas and take action.

You'll have an opportunity to put these words into action the following day at the hackfest event. Suitably technical people will come together to write software that exposes, analyses, or in some way supports open government data, most likely based on the ideas formed on day one.

We feel this event is very important. After we attended GOVIS, we described the difficulty of innovating in government as it related to the web. Events like the barcamp bypass traditional obstacles and help innovation to triumph. The event's topic, open data in government, also resonates with SilverStripe. Making data free and open allows it to be used by a wider pool of people for constructive purposes, leading to economic and social benefit.

We hope that the event encourages more government websites to be built with open data as a key principle, with open APIs, and with the source code of underlying platforms being available. Websites like the Broadband Map project have shown that being open in intent, APIs, and code allow a variety of stakeholders to explore and tackle different challenges within a common theme of broadband. Open data is also very much on the menu in governments elsewhere. At OSCON last month, Tim O'Reilly spent the second half of his conference keynote speaking on open data, and explaining why websites like are so important to the US Government.

So, we're strongly supporting this event, and would love to see you come along and share your ideas. We also hope to see people roll up their sleeves and contribute to the hackfest. You can register and get more information at the NZ Open Govt Data Barcamp and Hackfest website.

When & Where:

  • Saturday 29th August: Barcamp, National Library of New Zealand (70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon 6011, Wellington - map).
    Registration from 9.15am, for a 10am start. Wrap-up by 5pm.
  • Sunday 30th August: Hackfest, Southern Cross Bar (35-39 Abel Smith Street, Te Aro 6011, Wellington‎ - map)
    10am until late afternoon.