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Your trusty sidekick at GovHack 2017

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We’re ramping up for this year’s GovHack event at the moment and excited to be a national sponsor again this year. Getting behind and supporting these events is something we think is important and an opportunity to bring together those from government, the wider technology community and business to work on solving real problems. It's not just for coders, anyone can bring their skills to the event and join a team (team diversity leads to amazing results!).

Earlier this year, April in fact, we soft launched an all new catalogue service on the internationally popular (and open source) data platform - CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network). By adopting an open source platform we have been able to tap into all the great features and tools that have been developed around the globe as countries have been opening up their data on mass (we've even recently had contributions from the New Zealand Government included back into the CKAN product, a story for another day). GovHack 2017 marks the official launch of this new catalogue service!

Here's how some of the new features can help you at GovHack this year.

Available file formats

In previous incarnations of data.govt.nz you were presented with a link to an agency landing page, if you were lucky the data was in the format you wanted to help your project. You can now find out what formats a dataset is available in without leaving data.govt.nz as we directly reference data files and the available formats to save you time and wild goose chases for data.

Showing the available file formats on data.govt.nz

The data explorer tool

One of the big features is the Data Explorer. This allows you to look directly at the data tables (for tabular datasets like CSV and XLS) and perform some basic filtering, charting and mapping to aid in your discovery process. You can find out quickly whether a dataset is what you need to get the job done. This saves precious time you don't have at GovHack while you're busy user testing, cutting code and preparing your pitch.

The data.govt.nz data explorer tool showing a chart of citizenship grant data

Geospatial search

Location is one of those variables that can be used to connect datasets and the juiciest problems require multiple datasets to solve. For those datasets listed by agencies that have provided geospatial metadata they can be searched for by location area. Draw a fence around the location you're interested in on our user interface map and you'll get a vertical slice of known datasets within that location regardless of where across government the data is from. All data happens somewhere right?

The data.govt.nz geo search tool with a box drawn around Wellington

Simple data APIs

Something we've been excited about for some time is the CKAN data APIs. While it relies on agencies providing clean, well formatted, machine readable datasets, the benefits are many (I tend to think this may even help data quality improvements). A good supply of open data and APIs are enablers of digital services so these will become increasingly important over time. For GovHack, those datasets that have been API enabled can be consumed in data visualisations, web applications and even feed into Artificial Intelligence tools to train them to answer questions.

 

Lastly, as National Sponsors we’ll be releasing some bounties on the opening night – stay tuned and keep an eye on the data.govt.nz home page for hints and the big reveal on the 28th July. If you're looking to attend, the (free) tickets are going fast!


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