SynergyCity

Synergy City 2015 Logo
Team Name: 
SynergyCity

Welcome to SynergyCity2015!!

This morning, you and your neighbours got paid, you approved another solar panel installation for your house, and now everyone except that guy in the 5 x 3 on the corner is happy!  SynergyCity is a game designed to introduce you to the costs and benefits of Solar. Level 1 is currently being demoed!

The platform created is designed to be built upon. Games are a great way to encourage people to explore government data available. Let’s be honest here….. No-one wants to read long lists of data. What if that data was presented in a way that is fun & interactive. Instead of just opening data to people, allow them to explore for themselves. The game is suitable for all ages depending on the data sets used. It could be used to expose homeowners to the benefits of Solar, or public transport and waste management. Children could also be taught how to manage a budget based on income data and average household expenses.

The fantastic part of this project is that SynergyCity can be used to display and inform people in an interactive way. The next version of SynergyCity would include data on congestion, waste, extra appliances and their energy ratings, even budgeting, and also real world events! Every city has calamities! What would a power outage do to a house that has Solar with a battery backup? What would a cloudy day look like for a family subsidising their electricity bills with Solar? All these questions will be answered in SynergyCity v2.

For the first time SynergyCity includes a custom built ‘Happiness Engine’ that evaluates a household’s happiness based on real world data. The ‘Happiness Engine’ considers a family’s income, average power bill, energy consumption and even how environmentally conscious they are!

Data used includes a wide range of data sets for the current version of this project. We gathered and massaged data from the Australian PV Institute (APVI), the Alternative Tech Association (ATA), the Clean Energy Regulator (CEAR), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Synergy, CSIRO and the Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA)!

From Solar generated and used in households, to average consumption across seasons for different sized properties there were lots of pieces of data added together to form the coherent picture shown in the game.

The data includes: Average electricity bill data, average consumption data, photovoltaic production data, house sizes and coal power production. A list of the locations of data can be found here:

Our application would not have been possible without the following Open Source projects:

  • The Noun Project (images, including some we submitted back to the project)
  • AngularJS (JavaScript framework)
  • OpenTTD OpenMSX (Soundtrack)

SynergyCity has been submitted for the following prize categories:

Bounty: Open Source bounty

The open source projects we used as part of our game were: thenounproject.com and AngularJS and Angular-animate libraries.

Several of the icons used from thenounproject.com were adapted for our game and then the new icons contributed back to thenounproject.com

We also added a simple soundtrack from the OpenTTD project's OpenMSX initiative, to enhance the gamification aspect.

Bounty: Scientific data bounty

http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/EF/Areas/Electricity-grids-and-systems

How can you encourage members of the public to see the world around them in a new light? Present information in an interesting way.

The CSIRO provides lots of information about solar panels on their website. This information is fantastic and easy to read, but isn’t very engaging.

SynergyCity uses information from the CSIRO website and multiple other sources to provide an engaging format with the same goal as the CSIRO website – informing people about solar, renewables and the associated costs, benefits etc.

The Best Data Journalism Hack

The best way to convey information to people is to make it easily understandable, interesting and informative. What better way to do that than through an interactive game based on real life data?

SynergyCity is a platform to allow for new data to be presented to the public as a form of entertainment. The platform currently demonstrates energy data however the intention is for any data set to be represented in SynergyCity.

The Best Open Government Data Hack

During our research the team found that there was an abundance of data sets that were not user friendly. It took a great deal of time to extract relevant information from the data sets provided and even to locate them in the first place.

Our game is designed to engage the public using real data in an entertaining format. At the same time the public experiences accurate information captured by the government. This can be a great way to present information that challenges their assumptions and can also be used to collect feedback to improve services.

The Best Science Hack

The topic Science covers a huge range of exciting topics but if people don’t know it is exciting then they miss out on valuable information. Science is exciting!!!! So the delivery of scientific data needs to be exciting too!! Games like SynergyCity can provide the excitement factor.

Many people don’t know what their personal impact on carbon emissions is and where their power comes from. SynergyCity aims to allow people to be informed about carbon emissions in a way that is easy to approach. They might even learn something without noticing it!

Best Citizen Service Hack

Citizens currently have trouble seeing through the marketing information around solar panels. Team SynergyCity aims to demonstrate the full picture of how Solar Energy usage affects people at a personal financial level and society. This helps people understand how they can work with government to lower emissions.

Games are a really great way to get people interested in data that may be relevant but not particularly exciting. The government generates a great amount of data that is never utilised because people don’t know where to look. A game is a quick way to educate and inform people without them knowing it.

Synergy Energising Communities Prize

Team SynergyCity aim to demonstrate to the public the benefits of choosing renewable energy solutions (currently through Solar) and also the costs involved. The public will then be properly placed to make informed decisions regarding their personal energy usage and this will help the Western Australian market to scale their renewable energy.

Datasets Used: 
Synergy Pricing: https://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/home_plan_a1_tariff.xhtml Consumption/Solar generation data: synergy_govhack_data_20150702.xlsx http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/RET/Forms-and-resources/Postcode-data-for-small-scale-installations http://www.ata.org.au/ata-research/sunulator http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/ http://arena.gov.au/resources/ http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/EF/Areas/Electricity-grids-and-systems https://www.energex.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/125619/8006.pdf http://apvi.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PV-in-Australia-Report-2013.pdf http://www.abs.gov.au/ http://dea.org.au/images/general/How_coal_burns_Aust._-_True_cost_of_burning_coal_04-13.pdf # From thenounproject.com Gregor Cresnar - Dollar icon Ryan Oksenhorn - Lightning icon Lil Squid - Sun icon Alex Vaughn - Sprout icon Olesya Koslova - Houses Matt Brooks - Leaf icon Arthur Shlain - Snowflake icon Arial Kotzer - Factory icon Daniele Katanalotto - Power plant icon Maurizio Fusillo - noun_74724_cc.svg Iconsmind.com - noun_67566_cc.svg Percy Batalier: Media buttons (play, pause, next) OpenTTD OpenMSX: https://wiki.openttd.org/OpenMSX

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