- What is this contest about?
- Why is the Government 2.0 Taskforce holding a contest?
- Who can enter?
- How do I enter?
- What does open access mean?
- What do you mean by “mashup”?
- What data can I use?
- Who is judging?
- Which government agencies are participating?
- What is the Government 2.0 Taskforce?
- I have a question that isn’t answered here…
The Government 2.0 Taskforce is holding this contest to provide a practical demonstration of the benefits that open access to Australian public sector information (PSI) can provide.
Discussion about open access to PSI is often overshadowed by a focus on the risks and issues. What happens if one piece of data is wrong? What happens if someone wants access to the locations of critical infrastructure? What happens if a bad person uses the data to carry about their bad plans?
But much of the PSI which would be made open access for the greatest economic and community benefit does not raise these issues. The Government 2.0 Taskforce is holding this contest to demonstrate that it is possible to enjoy the benefits of open access to PSI now, while we all think and work hard on solving the tough but relatively small subset of big issues.
In that vein, the Government 2.0 Taskforce is holding this MashupAustralia contest to showcase how something as simple as, for example, the locations of government services or census data, can deliver benefits to the research, commercial and community sectors – and to citizens at large. The Taskforce has worked with the Australian Government and with State and Territory Governments (through the Online Communications Council) to release data on open access terms and in formats that can be used for the purpose of this contest.)
Open access to PSI raises many challenges, some of which may be “hidden” (for want of a better word), eg. the best data may be in legacy systems and difficult to make available to the public. So in addition to the mashup element, the contest may also award bonuses which encourage people to transform, enrich and enhance data sets into more useful and open formats in the process of building their entries.
We are holding a contest because it is an exciting way to drive community engagement, which is what Government 2.0 is all about. By working to establish this contest, we are also providing a practical demonstration of what open access is and does, and we are identifying some of the barriers that exist within government to a broader adoption of open access to PSI.
Contests like this have also been held in a number of other jurisdictions. We are aware of the following:
- Show Us a Better Way
- Apps for Democracy 2008
- Apps for Democracy 2009
- Apps for America
- Big Apps Contest
The data made available for this contest can be used and mashed-up by any member of the public, no matter where they are in the world, consistent with the terms of the applicable (usually Creative Commons) license. You can also enter as a team.
However, to be eligible for prizes, solo entrants must be either an Australian resident or Australian citizen. For team entrants, at least one member of the team must be an Australian resident or Australian citizen. It’s only fair – it is the MashupAustralia contest after all.
The contest is open from 10am October 7 to 4pm November 13 2009 (AEST).
“Open access” means access on terms and in formats that permit and enable use and reuse. For example, most of the datasets made available for this contest have been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia license. Most of these datasets are available in open “mashable’ formats (such as RDF, XML or KML), but for those that aren’t we have decided to publish them anyway and let you attempt to liberate them to more usable formats.
An open access approach in terms of license terms and formats reduces the frictions and barriers to use and reuse. Instead of requiring you to spend time identifying and contacting the owner to request permission to use, an open access approach allows any member of the public to confidently and swiftly use open material as and when you need to do so or have a good idea about how to use it.
An open access approach stands in contradistinction to an “all rights reserved” copyright or a “personal and non-commercial use only” copyright license. Both of these approaches require you to go to take the time and, possibly also the expense, of requesting permission from making many of the uses that digital tools and platforms now allow to make information more useful and creative.
For more information, check out the Wikipedia page on “mashup”.
When we refer to a mashup, we mean a web-based application that takes one or more of the Government datasets and combines them either with each other or with any number of publicly accessible web services and open datasets to create something new. We also include in this the creation of enhanced data through the addition of new structure to unstructured data, or the addition of useful metadata.
Please refer to the judging criteria to understand what sort of mashups will be most valued.
Judges have to be able to judge the application – and this means any entries must be made publicly available on a publicly accessible webserver.
The Government 2.0 Taskforce has worked with Australian Government agencies and, through the Online Communications Council Digital Economy Group, State and Territory agencies to release data on open access terms for use in this contest at http://data.australia.gov.au. For the mashup component of this contest, you must use at least one of these datasets or one of the other data sources available.
However, you are free to include any other data or materials that you wish to include provided that the license terms permit you to use it and enter it in this contest consistent with the Contest Rules.
The following people have kindly agreed to judge all entries and award prizes:
- Seb Chan (Taskforce member, Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum)
- Mark Pesce, Futurist/Author/Judge of ABC’s “New Inventors”
- Nathan Yergler, Creative Commons Chief Technology Officer
- Abigail Thomas, Head of Strategic Development, ABC Innovation, ABC
- Regina Kraayenbrink, Web Futures Strategy Team, Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Richard Allan, Director of Policy, Facebook, and former Chair of the UK Power of Information Taskforce
The Taskforce is grateful to the following Australian Government and State and Territory agencies for agreeing to release datasets that can be used in this contest:
- ACT Government
- Attorney Generals Department
- Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Australian Electoral Commission (AEC)
- Australian Federal Police
- Australian Institute of Criminology
- Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
- Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
- Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet
- Geoscience Australia
- Medicare Australia
- National Archives of Australia
- New South Wales Government
- Northern Territory Government
- Queensland Government
- South Australian Government
- Victorian Government
The Government 2.0 Taskforce was established by the Australian Government on 22 June 2009. It is a joint initiative between the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, Minister for Finance and Deregulation and Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State.
The purpose of the Taskforce is to investigate how the Australian Government can increase the openness of government and encourage greater online engagement.
The Taskforce is due to report to the Australian Government by the end of 2009.
We welcome your questions and feedback through our Contact page.