What do you get when you bring together 15 people who have never worked together as a team before and ask them to develop a mobile app using open data? Oh, I forgot to add … the mobile app has to be completed over a weekend period of 48 hours?
That is exactly what happened on a cold weekend in July. Six Brightcookie staff members joined with nine other talented people from Adelaide to compete in Unleashed Adelaide, South Australia’s annual open data competition and part of the national GovHack competition. The purpose of of this competition is to provide an opportunity for passionate developers, open data and visualisation enthusiasts, graphic designers, researchers, and anyone interested in playing with data to come together over a single weekend to create new mashups, data visualisations and apps with open data from government, research and industry.
The group of 15, to be known as the ‘Nature Ninjas’, were a mix of web developers, programmers, graphic designers, multimedia developers, educationalists and subject matter experts. The common contact between the mix was Leo Gaggl from Brightcookie and although some of the group knew other members, for many, this was the first time in meeting as well as working collaboratively with each other. Over the 48 hours of the competition the Nature Ninjas combined their creative knowledge and experience to develop a mobile app called ‘What Grows Here?’.
‘What Grows Here?’ is designed to help individuals, passionate gardeners, community groups and businesses find out what plants will best suit their space and needs. It contains the detailed descriptions of over 1000 Australian Native Plants ranging from trees and shrubs to ground-covers and grasses. Users can search based botanical or commonly known names, location, plant category, height, spread, rainfall, soil texture, soil pH level, frost conditions, form, flower colour and flowering season. Open data from the State Flora Catalogue, Waite Arboretum Spatial Data and the Atlas of Living Australia was used in the build of the app.
All competitions have results, be it in the form of recognition or awards. The national GovHack Red Carpet Awards were held on 10th August and ‘What Grows Here?’ received the GovHack People’s Choice Award. Our surprise and delight in winning this award was topped off a week later at the South Australian Unleashed Awards where we received the top prize Unleashed Premiers Award and the Unleashed Building on Science, Research and Environmental Data Award.
The success of ‘What Grows Here?’ has been widely covered in national and South Australian media.
The Guardian – Hacking democracy – nine interesting GovHack projects
The Advertiser – Nature Ninjas wins Premier’s Award for its ‘What Grows Here?’ app at the Unleashed open data competition
The Advertiser – Hackers hit the garden with new award-winning app that tells you what grows best in your backyard
Government of South Australia News Release – Nature Ninjas Unleashed in open data competition
by leogaggl Six happy Nature Ninjas with the Waite Arboretum data mentors
These awards will enable us to further develop ‘What Grows Here?’ and include some features that will allow the user to:
- Save, retrieve and refine searches
- Create a shopping list
- Create a wish list / favourites
- Add, save and retrieve notes
- Add photos
- Login and share via social media
- Contribute to a community forum
The ‘Nature Ninjas’ consisted of Joerg Boeselt, Leanne Brookes, Sam Bywaters, Leo Gaggl, John Flackett, Brent Leideritz, David Lindley, Kristen Morgan, Rhys Moult, Katherine Nguyen, Jim Plummer, Sean Simper, Kenny Tran, Kien Vu and Catriona Ward. ‘What Grows Here?’ is available for download for Android and iOS devices.