A team of Tait software engineers has won an award at the GovHack NZ event, creating an application that uses public information to improve travel routes. Taking their name from Tait founder Sir Angus Tait, “Team Angus” consisted of Senior Design Engineers John Carter, Daniel Hughes and Alexander Zinovyev. Their award winning concept employed available public data from Google Maps, the Transport Agency and City Council to “give personalized information for a customer’s journey that makes the trip predictable, enjoyable and interesting.”
“We got involved because we’re working on delivering a lot more capability in our next generation of terminals, so we were interested in how to translate that into value for our customers,” says John Carter.
GovHack NZ requires small teams of competitors to produce any kind of “hack” using government data in 46 hours, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. The format of a “hack” is unspecified, but the most common are web applications, mobile applications, or visualizations.
The event was based in Christchurch, New Zealand, a city still rebuilding civic infrastructure after a series of destructive earthquakes in 2010-2011, where citizens still encounter frequent roadworks and road closures during their daily commute. Identifying this as a problem that could be solved with public data, Team Angus created a working concept in the category of “Bounty: Christchurch Transport Data Hack”.
The team’s award winning solution was an application that queried Google Maps service for typical route information, then combined that with available local data about roadworks and road closures on the suggested routes, providing commuters with information about why the roadwork was being done, how long the disruption would be, and ultimately delivering the best unimpeded route.
John says it’s a simple example of using data a customer already has, to add value.
“We keep saying we want apps for our customers, but I say that our customers already have applications; they have massive mission-critical back office systems. They’ve spent more on them than they’ve ever spent on our (radio) systems. We need to go to our customers and say, ‘We know how to get your data to the front line, in your vehicles, in a manner that’s robust, reliable, mission-critical, secure and authenticated. We have the skills and tools to do it; let us go to it’.”
Tait Communications congratulates the members of Team Angus on their success at GovHack NZ, and is proud of their contribution such an innovative, creative event.