Students use government data to clean up Christchurch streets

31 August 2021

GovHack is the largest open data hackathon in the Southern hemisphere, with an estimated 1,000 participants.

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GovHack is the largest open data hackathon in the Southern hemisphere, with an estimated 1,000 participants. Thanks to a collaboration between the UC Business School, UC Centre for Entrepreneurship, Trimble and the Smart Christchurch team at Christchurch City Council, students were given the chance to access real-time government data to develop innovation solutions to a variety of issues.

UC Business School and UCE support challenges and hackathons as a way for students to solve real-world problems, which made the opportunity to co-construct this event a great fit. 

One of the key objectives was to provide an opportunity through open data for government, citizens and industry to collaborate, to gain knowledge and develop new skills. 

This year’s competition, held on 20-22 August, was a virtual event after the nationwide lockdown prevented the university from hosting an in-person event. 

Participants looked at themes including energy and infrastructure, our digital future, agriculture and the environment, and health and wellbeing. In addition, participants addressed “bounty” statements, including solutions for engagement with SmartView-Go

One innovation solution from a University of Canterbury team looked at how technology could help solve the problem residents face with littering on Christchurch’s streets. 

UC student Leona Huang formed 'Team City Warriors' with fellow Master of Business Information Systems student Morten Viehof, and Alec Arnold. The ‘City Warriors’ app solution utilised the Christchurch Satisfaction Survey results, to design a tool that enables citizens to take action and make the city a cleaner and greener space.

Watch the team’s video which explains the problem and how the City Warrior app works.

"We've been encouraged to get a startup orientation, to get involved in challenges and see what kinds of opportunities there are. It's a chance to meet new people, develop new skills and do something outside of Uni to add to our CV," she said. 

"It was a little bit hard in the beginning; we're from a non-tech background and we thought there'd be a lot of coding involved so we were hesitant at the start. But after listening to the brief and talking to the mentors, we realised we didn't need to be in tech." Huang added.

All-in-all, GovHack was a successful and fun weekend for participants. If you are interested in being involved with innovation challenges, connect with UCE for more information.