GovHack involved participants in 11 Australian cities using open government datasets to build innovative apps and tools for the public, mainly in the areas of digital humanities, science, data journalism, social inclusion and business.
Kieran, who joined a team of six other experienced programmers, was the only school student to take part in the Perth competition and won the most promising young programmer award.
However, it was not all smooth sailing for the self-taught programmer when the laptop he hired to enable him to compete stopped working after day one of the 48-hour competition.
‘I was a bit annoyed as I had put in all my pocket money into renting that laptop for the weekend,’ Kieran said.
‘Thankfully, the team was supportive and lent me a laptop for the weekend.’
His team’s submission, Project Sarbii, was a management portal allowing emergency services to manage the coordination of a search and rescue, as well as a mobile phone app for people to check-in their journeys so authorities can be alerted if they go missing or do not arrive on time at their destination.
‘A member on my team is a search and rescue volunteer,’ Kieran said.
‘When he explained the issues search and rescue personnel were facing, we all jumped at the opportunity to solve a real-world problem.’
Team Sarbii won the WA prize for bigger picture thinking and went on to win the overall business hack winner and runner-up for best professional geek team award at the national awards.
The team has offered to give $1000 of the prize money to Kieran so he can buy his own programming laptop.