Hackers with a cause
Friday 06 Nov 2015
Hackers will converge at a mystery location in Wellington this weekend. But there won’t be anything illegal going on.
The group of 40 techies are taking part in Nature Hack - a hackathon organised by Landcare Research and Callaghan Innovation. Hackathons see coders and entrepreneurs compete in teams against the clock to create innovative new software and hi-tech applications.
For more than 24-hours, starting Saturday morning, the participants will collaborate to build a web service or app related to New Zealand’s unique environment. They will be armed only with information from several of Landcare Research’s nationally significant science collections, their skills and the limits of their imagination.
Dr Richard Gordon, CEO of Landcare Research, is keen to see New Zelanders engage with the national science collections. “New Zealand is home to many species and landscapes found nowhere else on earth. Our collections are an important part of New Zealand’s natural heritage and help us to better understand and protect our wildlife and wild places”.
On Sunday afternoon, at wildlife sanctuary Zealandia, a panel of judges will crown the winning teams. Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is one of the judges, along with successful entrepreneurs from the digital community. There are prizes up for grabs from sponsors Air New Zealand and Icebreaker.
Landcare Research web developer Tim Heuer was among those selected to take part. It would be his first time participating in a hackathon.
“I like to experiment with new ideas. In my everyday work for Landcare Research I contribute to science, innovation and the environment. This hackathon enables me to work with innovators from other sectors and disciplines to create new valuefrom science information” Heuer said.
He was keeping an “open mind” as to what his team might come up with.
The event coincides with Conservation Week, which ends on Sunday. The Department of Conservation’s annual week encourages New Zealander’s to get out into nature.
More on Nature Hack: www.naturehack.nz/