Data & Competitions

GovHack has over $40k in prize money, which includes major and minor prize categories.


The three major prize categories are based on three themes that won’t be announced till the Friday night of GovHack at 1700, so make sure you come along or tune into the live stream to see what you’ll be working on! You’ll be competing against everyone for these prizes. There is over $25k in major prizes alone!

There are also a number of smaller prizes which will be awarded to the best of their category in their location. The minor prizes are $1000 (apart from one prize) and are functionality based.

Data Sets

You have access to some fantastic data sets including:

Other interesting government data sets:

Check out the developer kit so you can get prepared well beforehand and make the most of the 48 hours you’ll have to do your thing. Please register so that you receive updates as they happen. We’ll provide information about useful tools for making mashups, applications, data visualisations and more.

Plus there will be workshops and mentors available over the weekend to help you make the most of the weekend and create the best possible outcomes. Mentors will be listed in the coming weeks, and we will put up a ‘helpdesk’ forum where you can submit questions to the mentors and get help for your hack.

Anyone is welcome to come along and learn, hack and play, but below are some basic rules for the competition if you want to compete for the glory (and prize money). Please note, these rules are subject to modification prior to the start of the event, so do please check the rules on the 1st June for any updates.

1. Prizes

Major Prize Categories

Teams compete in each of these categories for the related prizes. Major Category prizes will be decided by the awarding organisation with support from the Judges Panel.

  • Digital Humanities Category – awarded by the National Archives of Australia
    • $2500 – Best use of the Archives data set - Canberra
    • $2500 – Best use of the Archives data set - Sydney
    • $5000 – Best overall Digital Humanities Award - unreliant on any particular data sets
  • Science Category - awarded by Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia
    • $2500 – Best use of Bureau of Meteorology data sets (temperature and rainfall)
    • $2500 – Best use of Geoscience Australia data sets
    • $5000 – Best Overall Science Award - unreliant on any particular data sets
  • Open Government Category - awarded by AGIMO, the ACT Government and the eGovernment Technology Cluster
    • $3000 - API development for government data sets on
      AGIMO are supporting GovHack with $3000 for developing APIs for that can be used to help Australian citizens engage with hosted government data sets. AGIMO will award the $3000 accordingly to the quality and number of APIs developed and will host appropriate APIs on after GovHack.
    • $5000 – Best Benefit to the ACT Community Award - unreliant on any particular data sets
    • $2000 – Best Open Government Award - unreliant on any particular data sets

Minor Prize Categories

In competing for one (or several) of the the major category prizes teams will be eligible and in the running for the following minor priizes:

  • Best Use of Location Data (Geospatial) – supported by the Office for Spatial Policy
  • Best Data Analysis – supported by Palantir
  • Best Contribution to Open Data – supported by AusGOAL
  • Best Augmented Reality Hack – supported by Adobe
  • Best Spirit of GovHack Award – for the team who demonstrates best the spirit of what GovHack is all about
  • Best Data Visualisationspecial prize by Adobe
All minor categories are $1000 cash prizes except for Best Data Visualisation.
We are proud to announce a special prize for the Best Data Visualisation (which we think is better than cash), Adobe have generously donated two copies of  Design and Web Premium, which retails at over $3000 and includes some excellent tools for data visualisation. Thanks Adobe!

2. Winners

Winners will be chosen by the GovHack competition judges on Sunday afternoon after the team presentations. The the minor prizes are judged by a panel and the major prizes are judged by specific organisations with support from the panel.

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.

Winners will need to provide their details to GovHack organisers on the day to coordinate distribution of prize money within a few days of GovHack.

3. GovHack entries and timing

The GovHack organisers will make several developer tools and environments available for you, but it is your responsibility to chose and use the tools you need. We also provide documentation, mentors and workshops to help you out if you want it.

Teams will need to register their entries by Saturday 1330 at GovHack (June 2) through the team registration page and finish their work by 3pm Sunday (June 3). Work can start Friday night at 5pm once the competitions details are announced giving you almost 48 hours to play.

Teams must nominate which of the major categories they are competing for in the team submission registration. Teams may register more than one entry if they intend to make more than one app, mashup or data visualisation.

Several competition goals require entries must use at least one of the datasets provided for this contest, but you are free to use 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).

4. Judging Criteria

Team submissions have three components they will be judged one:

  • The Team Submission Registration Page - this should include information about your entry, who is involved, how it works, some screenshots and/or screencasts and what data sets you used. It is the public face of your submission.
  • The entry itself - if judges are able to see and play with it that is useful, but this is a minor component of the judging.
  • Most importantly, the Team Presentation in the 3pm session on Sunday the 3rd june. The team presentation is where your team has the opportunity to show off your project, how it works and why you did it. The team presentations are live streamed and are the core component judges will look to in making their decision so make sure you’ve had plenty of sleep and plan a great presentation of your submission.Please note, the Team Presentations are strictly 5 minutes long in order to fit everyone in, and we will be enforcing this with a gong :)

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
  • Consistency with contest purposes including social value
  • Quality and design (including standards compliance)
  • Usability (including documentation and ease of use)
The Judges Panel is made up of GovHack organisers, mentors and supporting organisations. Judges are not eligible to compete for prizes. The Major Category prizes are judged by the awarding organisations with support from the Judges Panel.

5. Eligibility

To be eligible for prizes, individual entrants must be either an Australian resident or Australian citizen or for team entrants, at least one member of the team must be an Australian resident or Australian citizen. It’s only fair – it is an Australian GovHack competition after all.

At least one team member must be physically at either the Sydney or Canberra GovHack event to present on behalf of their team to be eligible for prizes.

Judges expect entries to be primarily developed throughout the weekend of GovHack. If a submission is shown to have been done before the weekend, the submission will be ineligible for prizes. This does not include reuse or extension of existing software, libraries or data sets.

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 an unfairness.

6. 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 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;
  • privacy invasive;
  • 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.

7. 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 GovCamp 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 2.5 Australia license. 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 licensethe Free Documentation Licensethe MIT license or BSD license etc.).

8. Right to remove

Submissions and comments will be posted live, but occasionally they may not make it through our 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.

9. 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.


  1. Andrew Harvey

    May 15, 2012

    When you say “All content submitted must be Creative Commons BY licensed”, what if we submit content derived from government data that isn’t released by the government under a CC-BY license? Are we not allowed to submit that mash up content because it is based on non-CC-BY data from the government?

    In that case could we submit the code behind it under the open license, but the actual demo of the software producing the content be non-free (due to the Crown Copyright).

    Of course I’m asking questions here without knowing the full scope of the competition goals, but just some thoughts.

    • Steven De Costa

      May 16, 2012

      Basically whatever you construct should be an appropriately permissive license, if the data it relies upon is not then that is ok, but we are hoping most of the gov data sets will be permissibly licensed.

      All will be clearer in a few days when we send out the HackPack to everyone registered which will have additional information about the competition and we’ll update this page too, so make sure you are registered :)


      • Sam

        May 20, 2012

        A follow up to Andrew’s question – what if the data is not one of the “gov data sets” you are making available, are teams still free to enter using Govt data that may not be in an electronic format e.g. paper based?

        • Pia Waugh

          May 21, 2012

          Hi Sam,

          People can certainly use government data sets that are not the ones we’ve outlined here, so long as the outcome is appropriately licensed (see above). You’ve got the minor competition categories above which are functionality based, but the major competition categories are to be announced at the launch, and some (but certainly not all) of the major competition categories will require the usage of one or another of the provided data sets as a minimum, so we do encourage you to look, play and imagine what you can do with what is above :) But you are not limited to it for all prizes.

          I have updated this page with the draft competition rules to give you more of an idea of what is eligible for prizes.

          Regardless, we are keen to see what people can do :) Catch you there! Let me know if you have any further questions.


  2. mark

    April 5, 2013

    Hey Pia / Steven,

    Will you guys be posting details of any additional data sets….. The sets listed seem to be quite similar as last year.

    I do understand that there is over 1000 data sets on but I have found it difficult to find the nuggets of gold which surely must exist within this website.

    Any tips…?

    Interested in social / economic data , were ‘data’ is defined to be (Row * Columns) > 5000 entries. Not really that interested in URLs that link to highly summarised reports.. Das ist nicht Daten.


    • Steven De Costa

      April 12, 2013

      Hi Mark,

      Yep – this is the page from last year, archived for reference under GovHack 2012. The prize and data sponsors for 2013 will be announced soon. We’ll then post a new page up under the GovHack 2013 section.

      I’ll keep an eye out for the data you are are after. I’ll be working on it a fair bit next week.


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