Burb Wars!

Burb Wars punching glove image
Team Name: 
Zac Plus!

What is the difference between Marion and Modbury? 

Our hack will be a play-off between suburbs to give people a chance to objectively compare suburbs, using more than just the ABS data currently used on Real Estate websites. We aim to make it fun, with a chance to challenge your friends' suburbs on different areas including Road Safety, Income, Crime Stats, health and hospital services, and more!

Please watch our video, it does a great job of explaining: https://youtu.be/Al0YuhbsDE8

Also, we have a lot of doco on our github: https://github.com/pastcompute/unleashed2015

And a story at http://burbwars.weebly.com/

Bounty: Most useful Product or Service for the Public

BurbWars! provides an incredibly useful resource for end users. In particular, they are able to see various information about their locality free of the bias (intended or not) that likely pervades commercial apps that have a similar theme. It allows them to compare and contrast, and also importantly provides information such as how to contact their local council with feedback on services. Because BurbWars! is implemented using a web service that provides aggregated data, it is possible to make more 'serious' applications based on the same data.

The most fun use of data

BurbWars! is of course a game! And games are fun! But it is a serious game: it demonstrates how a web service can be used to aggregate government data from many disparate sources into a form easy for end user developers to provide that information to the public. Also, the game provides a fun way to learn about your area, especially if you are a new arrival.

Data to design - using data to improve city planning and design

Our application demonstrates how councils can combine their data with other sources, to both provide useful information to the public, such as locations of playgrounds, but also, compare their performance against other areas. For example, playground information from the Cities of Port Adelaide Enfield and Burnside are available for residents to see, and compare. More importantly, the game will inform players which council they live in or might be visiting or moving to, and provide contact information - this is useful, the game can prompt them to provide feedback about services that might be improved!

Data to decision
Because BurbWars provides a way for players to connect with their council, etc. to provide feed back for areas of improvement, it can form the bases of a useful tool!

SASS place – coworking space for women

Alison & Amanda are awesome and would greatly appreciate this prize!

Bounty: Taxation data bounty

Our application provides several pieces of information about the area the user cares about, in an easy to understand manner. For example, they can see at a glance how many people paid tax, have a HECS debt, and so on, in the area they live or might be visiting. This information is also of use to businesses wishing to service the area.

Bounty: Charity data bounty

Data provided by the ACNC charities register at http://data.gov.au/dataset/acnc-register allows a player exploring their suburbs to see what charities actually have an office nearby. This can be useful for example when deciding where to donate goods such as used furniture, or clothing, for example.

Bounty: Health and welfare bounty

Although AIHW data is not reported by postcode, state data such as health expenditure (http://data.gov.au/dataset/health-expenditure-in-australia) can be reported to the player as an additional guide to the health services in their region.

The Best Data Journalism Hack

Presenting important information in the format of an interactive game well suits the 21st century style of information presentation. The user is kept interested, educated and a story can be told. By use of the web service we make it possible to build or integrate with other forms of electronic media

South Australia the Knowledge State

International students play a key part in the fabric of our state. BurbWars provides them with a fun and simple way to discover SA as a destination and assist them in finding a suitable place to live whilst studying here

Safer Cities and Roads

BurbWars alerts people to the volume of road crashes in their area. It also tells the player the number of roads in their area! If they realise their suburb is a high crash risk, they may modify their driving! Importantly, applications can be developed that integrate this with other information and provide insights to decision makers.

Best Professional Team

Amanda is a learning technologist and iOS developer. 

Alison professional accomplishments include developing device drivers for hearing aid software.

Andrew is a computer software engineer, by day working for a company based in Mawson Lakes, and in his spare time a contributor to various open source projects.

Daniel is a Oracle Database administrator by day at a small service provider in Adelaide.

Alison is a lecturer for TafeSA.

Data is beautiful

Our game BurbWars shows how data can be presented in  visually attractive and engaging way yet educational

Helping Communities Connect

Our game will help people discover resources in their area.  Results can be hyperlinked, and the web service easily extended to return detailed information - for example, when a suburb has '7' community resources, clicking the link can show the name and address of those ovals, parks, or jetties, for example.

Best Industry, Science or Research data mash up

We imported the data.sa industry data set https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/south-australian-community-services-... to gather a list of community organisations.

The Best Digital Transformation Hack

We think a game like ours is a great way to show of a variety of educational or useful community data in an accessible way!

The Best Open Government Data Hack

We think a game like ours is a great way to encourage interaction with the community - the game can include a prompt for people to contact the local council or other services to ask for improvements or suggestions.

The Best Policy Insights Hack


We think the web service underpinning our app demonstrates how different and disparate data can be combined in insightful ways


Simplified Architecture Description

The system is comprised of three key components:

  • Database - raw data has been imported from data.sa and data.gov.au, massaged and analysed into a form suitable for asking questions based on geographic location
  • Web service layer - this is a critical component that takes questions from applications, queries the database and returns the answer.
  • The web service is important as it allows any number of applications to use the data in any way they find useful, regardless of the platform (mobile, web, etc.) or software used for development (iOS, Android, PHP, python, javascript, HTML5, flash)
  • Application - the Game BurbWars demonstrates the usefulness of the web service by providing a fun and educational experience and also illustrates that policymakers can use the data to elicit feedback from users in a frictionless manner.
  • The game is developed in Flash due to the time constraints of Govhack Unleashed and can easily be converted to HTML5 if required.

Data Preparation Process

  • Data aggregation : the team spent time looking at a multitude of sources, most of which were available in CSV, or Shape files, and had to import and coalesce this data into a SQL database.  Along the way we used Google drive, you can see some of our working notes at https://docs.google.com/a/dns.id.au/document/d/1jZGfaH_A1eVcynoB4lUuY5QI...
  • Data insight : a key component is posing of questions : 'Which of these two suburbs has more parks' (with the implication, which is more livable?)  This question is also useful to planners: where do we need to build community infrastructure?


Obviously Govhack Unleashed is only one weekend.  So a good up front plan is important. At the same time, we dont have time to over-engineer and have to make trade offs that a proper software development build would not require.

The web service as implemented so far is documented at https://github.com/pastcompute/unleashed2015/blob/master/README.md

Future Extension

This is a key part of our story! The BurbWars experience demonstrates how a web service can be used to aggregate data from a large number of data sources and provide a simple API for third parties to access community data and provide useful tools to the South Australian community

Datasets Used: 
Suburb list https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/suburb-boundaries \n Local councils (via location.sa) SHAPE FILE http://www.dptiapps.com.au/dataportal/LGA_shp.zip Local council contact details join on lga.lga with council_contacts.council http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=992 Postcode to state mappings - CSV from wikipedia Taxes paid / number of people with HECs debts, etc by postcode http://data.gov.au/dataset/e29ef9ca-0d1a-47ec-9e9b-14a79a941511/resource/fa6fda82-a70d-4f4c-bb00-203ffc4d20af/download/Taxstats2013Individual06Selected-items-by-taxable-status--postcode.xlsx Emergency department wait times < 4 hours https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/sa-health-emergency-department-4-hour-length-of-stay SA Health Hospitals Locations https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/sa-health-hospitals-locations Australian LGA to postcode mappings with PostGIS and Intersects http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/07/australian-lga-to-postcode-mappings-with-postgis-and-intersects/ links to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tHCxouhyM4edDvF60VG7nzs5QxID3ADwr3DGJh71qFg Road network https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/roads Crash data https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/road-crash-data Playgrounds in the City of Port Adelaide Enfield https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/playgrounds-pae Playgrounds within the Adelaide City Council area https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/park-land-playgrounds location of South Australia’s jetties https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/jetties health, welfare, housing, education, community participation, information, legal services, arts and recreation https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/south-australian-community-services-directory DECD Sites list with postcode https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/5233709a-6e9a-4402-9869-da25ef68a3c0/resource/4d8e28ad-485a-4cae-b488-c2b1f7d3a3e2/download/2015sitesandservices.xlsx Facilities available for community use e.g. ovals https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/4be5893e-6fef-4dcd-b896-a84299d44ba3/resource/97644ccb-860f-4519-97a8-112e593f3ace/download/decdfacilitiesavailableforcommunityuseasatjuly2015.xlsx What charities are active in your area http://data.gov.au/dataset/acnc-2013ais Crime statistics http://www.ocsar.sa.gov.au/LGAs.html

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