November 14, 2012

Open Australia Foundation Hackfest

Posted by josediacono @ 8:14 pm under Uncategorized

Sadly I cannot go but perhaps you can? It will be good and you get to see inside the Google offices at Pyrmont Sydney. Well worth it.

OA say “We’re launching an exciting new project very soon that makes it straightforward for ordinary Australians to request information from their government. The site also opens up the whole process of making Freedom of Information requests by making the whole paper (or rather email) trail of request and responses public.

For this hackfest we’re not only inviting hackers to get involved with the technical aspects of the project, we’re also inviting hacks, activists, FOI gurus and anyone else that’s interested in learning more or getting involved with this new project.”

Register at

June 22, 2012

Brisbane Hack Brisbane winners

Posted by josediacono @ 10:09 am under Uncategorized

park website

Clayfield mobile software developer Kelwyn Graham is $10,000 richer thanks to his Brisbane Access Map app which Lord Mayor Graham Quirk named one of two winners of the inaugural hack::Brisbane competition

Read more:


April 30, 2012

So how are we doing with open data?

Posted by josediacono @ 9:35 am under Uncategorized

I just watched this video again from Tim Berners-Lee (still not so recent, its 2010), reviewing progress on open data and some mashup examples. The one about the water connections (or lack of)  to white and black communities is particularly powerful.

Sadly, in Australia, I heard that has lost government support – it no longer has anyone looking after it. Sounds like a death knell. There is no “most recent datasets” list so its really hard to see if any new data has been posted.

Tim Berners Lee The Year Open Data went World Wide

January 27, 2012

Citizen map makers

Posted by josediacono @ 9:30 am under Uncategorized


citizen mapmakersWe see them every day, popping up on our Twitter feeds, filtered through blogs, or even scattered throughout the New York Times: maps portraying not the usual locations or destinations, but data.  From people’s kisses in Toronto, to the concentration of pizza joints in New York, to the number of women who ride bikes, to the likelihood of being killed by a car in any given American city, the list of lenses through which we can now view our cities and neighborhoods goes on, thanks to data-mapping geeks.

“The map user has now become the map creator,” is how Fraser Taylor put it to me in an interview. The director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University, Taylor is one of the world’s leading cartographers, standing as the director of the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping and a member of the United Nations Expert Group on Global Geographic Information Management as well as a host of other major international mapping organisations.

Read more:

Thanks to Ross Johnson for this posting.


November 2, 2011

Climate Change mashup in California

Posted by josediacono @ 10:32 am under Uncategorized

A  GIS team has brought together all sorts of historical and predicted climate data for planners to use.

June 17, 2011

New data-portal and georabble

Posted by josediacono @ 10:32 am under Uncategorized

The City of Baltimore has made  a really usable and welcoming portal for open government data – especially if you are interested in parking fines, violations and repeat offenders.


We had a talk at Georabble last night about these from Lach McCabe : Using geo to reveal the story at the Sydney Morning Herald. He is using something called Google refine to cleanse his data. I’d not come across this before and its worth a look.

Standout presentation for me was Jacqui Kennedy : In Their Honour – Mapping our Anzacs – showing where all our servicemen and women are buried and linking to their records. This was because she told us the story behind this competition winning mashup – how her four uncles headed off to fight for king and country in the first world war and how the debacle at Anzac Cove was due to woeful maps which didn’t even have contours to show the steep slopes and ravines. When I was 15 I went on an exchange to Corbie in France and we visited the VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL cemetery. It was a very moving experience even for a self absorbed teenager.

March 31, 2011

new and library hack competition

Posted by josediacono @ 10:04 am under Uncategorized

The production version of is live. It provides an easy (my emphasis because  easy  is crucial) way to find, access and reuse public datasets from the Australian Government and state and territory governments. What is really exciting is they will help hackers and mashers to stand on each others’ shoulders.

“We encourage all users to improve government information by using it to develop tools and applications which benefit all Australians. Submitting links to these new applications will enable their promotion through in future enhancements to the site”

Libraryhack is a mashup and apps competition using data from Australian and New Zealand libraries. Starting in February for ideas and May for apswith hackfests around the country.  Get busy!



March 21, 2011

Georabble and bus apps

Posted by josediacono @ 9:23 pm under Uncategorized
Ross Johnson wonders if this is the queue for Georabble

Ross Johnson wonders if this is the queue for Georabble

Georabble was definitely a huge hit. The upstairs room at the Occidental hotel in York street, Sydney  (great location) was packed with spatial people, journalists, a lawyer (who introduced me to a top iphone app called Tripview which I downloaded for $2.50 on the way home).

Two especially interesting talks were Monique Potts of the ABC on Queensland Flood Mapping and Chris Broadfoot, joint winner of the recent apps4nsw comp who explained next-bus, a website app that uses RTA realtime bus info to let you stay in bed a couple of extra minutes. See all the buses approaching your stop. As always, much of the challenges involve getting the data. The live bus feed seems to be still intermittent but Tripview which uses static timetable data tells you what bus is coming in theory, is a good second.  Tripview allows you to choose your bus stop from a google map rather than having to guess the non-obvious stop description you have to select on the 131500 website. Thanks to the ‘rabble’ of organisers. Great job guys.


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January 31, 2011

Real Time Tube map working again

Posted by josediacono @ 12:07 pm under Uncategorized

Live London tube mapMy first blog posting for almost 2 months! The main reason was a long, cold but very enjoyable trip to the UK. Very impressed with how our Nokia phone navigated us round the country, and especially through central London where it knew all the one way streets and showed us accurately even which lane to be in – though I wonder how many accidents happen as drivers try to drive while looking at the tiny blue arrows on their screen. My job of co-pilot is still safe as satnav reader.

I’m pleased to see one of my favourite mashups the real time London Tube Map is up and running again. It has an chequered history when the real time feed was totally overloaded. More

November 3, 2010

Virtual Australia

Posted by josediacono @ 11:46 am under Uncategorized

Virtual Australia:  a fully interoperable, interactive 3D photo-realistic simulation of the natural and built environment on all scales down to 2cm, including internal spaces and below ground infrastructure, subject to the same security access controls and privacy rights available in the real world.

Michael Haines of Westgate Ports wants to improve containerised freight flows into and out of the Port of Melbourne. He went looking for the simulation tools to help him and found a gap so is getting the movers and shakers of government and private industry  together on 8th December in Melbourne. More

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