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.

October 13, 2011

Ausgrid mashup – build on it!

Posted by josediacono @ 10:55 am under Uncategorized

St ives residents are heavy electricity users, especially in winter

Ausgrid (formerly Energy Australia – one of the two electricity suppliers in Sydney) first released some of their usage data at the apps4nsw hackfest. It was very interesting to see the differences of up to 30% in average electricity between suburbs (St Ives is the highest). Now Ausgrid have launched their own mashup which shows not only electricity use but also the works they have completed in your suburb (repairs, new substations, streetlights) and how much solar energy is being fed back into the grid.

As an enhancement I’d like to be able to see easy comparisions between suburbs. Currently you just have to click and then remember the stats before you click on another suburb to compare. But we don’t have to wait for Ausgrid to do this. All the raw data is available.  Ausgrid say on their website “We’re working to share more information to help educate, inform and support the community. In particular, this information may be of interest to researchers or developers who want to create applications for the web or smart phones”.

Imagine if AGL published the gas consumption and Integral Energy (who serve the West of Sydney) published theirs, we could have a full picture for the whole of Sydney.What a powerful mashup that would be.

Also electricity is only part of the equation, could gas be added? Perhaps they don’t have gas in St Ives.

Here is another electricity mashup – this time street lights from ETSA in South Australia


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.

April 19, 2011

bread-and-butter-mashups for surveyors (and everyone)

Posted by josediacono @ 4:26 pm under Uncategorized

Make your own Mashup with Google Fusion. The Mashup and Ad Hoc mapping seminar we (SSSI) ran for the Institution of Surveyors NSW last week was very well received. Over 50 surveyors at this twilight seminar at Surry Hills to learn what are mashups, why should I be doing them and how do I get started?

I spoke about mashups in general and my favourites, why they are so valuable for business as well as fun, community stuff. Cameron Shorter spoke about selecting data and how to make sure it is fast and easy to use, Matt Robinson walked us through some step by step examples. We were keen to hear how surveyors might use a mashup. One suggestion was to plot all survey jobs on a Google Map. Andrew Harvey at Lagen Spatial has put together a very simple step by step guide of  how to do this with Google Fusion – taking a spreadsheet and visualising it on a Google Map. Check it out on their blog

March 31, 2011

Introduction to Mashups and ad hoc mapping 13th April

Posted by josediacono @ 8:36 pm under Uncategorized

On Wednesday 13th April at the Institute of NSW office in Surry Hills, Sydney 5.30-7.30 pm. A joint SSSI – IS-NSW event.

Click for more info

Click for more info

What are Mashups?

Why should I be creating them? 

How do I get started?

An entertaining and educational evening specially designed for surveyors and spatial professionals. Absolutely no prior web development knowledge needed.

Lots of lively examples, step by step guide and tips for creating good mashups. I’m really looking forward to  co-presenting with Matt Robinson of Lagen Spatial and Cameron Shorter of Lisasoft.

Seminar information Mashups with SSSI 13 April 2011

Download Registration Form (ISNSW don’t have online registration yet)

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!



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