Meet the Hackers


This article was first published in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science intranet.

GovHack is an international 'hackathon' where competitors have just 46 hours to identify a problem to solve, build a working prototype, publish their code as open source and create a video detailing the project.

Michelle Liu from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science was part of the team that participated in Govhack to create the safety-focused LightYourWay app.

Michelle Liu

My name is Michelle Liu. I am from AusIndustry Systems, AusIndustry—Business Services. As Project Officer, I liaise with stakeholders regarding ICT systems development/issues and conduct internal audits on the data qualities within the Grant Management Systems.

Michelle Liu (centre) with the LightYourWay team

Tell us about your project

LightYourWay is a super user-friendly app. To specially mention, this app attracts new comers, women and senior citizens in Canberra to make them feel safe to walk at night. This app pulls the open source data (ACT Street Light Data, ACT Crime Statistics, ACT Police Station Locations, and ACT Addressing), analyses it and provides the safest path for app users.

We used the ACT map as the base of the app, layering the data of ACT Street Lights, ACT Crime Statistics and ACT Police Station locations on the top of it. The app will calculate the safest route taking the all-data factors into considerations. Once the app is linked to the server, it works in the suburb the user is in, then it calculates the risk based on crime statistics.  Over 15% is high risk and under 15% is low risk. When latitude and longitude have been replaced, the risk will be calculated on the fly, depending where user is.

Our next version of LightYourWay will include the surveillance camera locations in Canberra, once the 'Safer Suburbs Programme' project is completed. Data available from this open source data program will enable us to add an extra layer on the top of current routes.

What was your role in the project?

I was the team organiser and all-rounder of the team. I also produced the final project video.

Was GovHack what you expected it to be?

It was even more fun than I expected. Yes the timeframe was very tight and we were all competing for prizes, however the overall environment was very friendly. It is a good opportunity to share your ideas with like-minded people.

What was your favourite part of GovHack?

The unpredictable nature of the event. Govhack is a sandbox in which you have the chance to test your abilities in IT project execution, data analysis and firefighting skills! It was a race against time to overcome the unpredictable obstacles like when your key programmer, who was working remotely, lost internet connection in a Canada airport; or your video editing software crashed 50 minutes before 5 pm on the closing day.

What is your background with data and coding?

In my previous role, I did statistical analysis and prediction of international higher education market trends in China and Japan. I have basic skills with Windows Server and knowledge of JAVA.

How can department staff access your app?

Installation steps:

  1. Install the PhoneGap Developer Tool onto your desktop and Smartphone.

  2. Activate Bluetooth on your phone.

  3. Open the PhoneGap Developer tool with your phone.

  4. PhoneGap will link your phone to the server of LightYourWay stored on your desktop.

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