So I have been reading with interest the stuff coming from the Government 2.0 Taskforce. Even if the name is hard to take seriously, it’s a lot better than the last time the federal government tried blogging. Probably because those making the most interesting noises are not those in government, but nevermind…
Two interesting things to come from that have been the Mashup Australia competition and the data.australia.gov.au portal, which is really cool but I am afraid will not have a life much beyond the competition… hopefully I’m wrong there.
The NSW state government is also doing a similar thing, although they announced it earlier and released their data later.
As part of the Mashup Australia competition, the taskforce organised a “hacking event” in Canberra called GovHack (see also SMH story). Sydney had not one but two similar events, hosted by Open Australia and Google, and until quite late it looked like Melbourne was going to miss out. At more or less the last minute, Lonely Planet came to the rescue and converted their OpenSocial/LP API hack day to also incorporate the GovHack stuff. And hence we have MelHack where I find myself for the weekend.
This morning I also gave a short presentation on how to use Wiki[mp]edia data. You can see my slides on Slideshare. Feel free to ask me for more detail because they’re pretty sparse.
So now comes the 24 hours to hack. Unfortunately I don’t have any great society-transforming idea in mind, and the data sets at first glance don’t help. The interesting ones are sparse, or it seems an interesting app might combine 3 or more of them, whereas I’m pretty sure I should start with just 1 and make sure I can work with that, before using any more. So what to do?
Well, when in doubt, why not go with frogs.
The South Australian frog atlas contains over 6,700 sightings of frogs. This is what happens when you convert the CSV to XML and basically just chuck them all on a map. I haven’t worked with Google Maps before, but maps do seem to be a vital element in mashups, so it’s a good a time as any to learn.
OK, that’s frogspotter v1. I will work on making v2 more useful. ;)