WA AgHack generates digital solutions to agricultural issues

| July 31, 2018

Innovative Western Australian ICT experts gathered in Perth for an agriculture hackathon last weekend, to seek new digital solutions to drive growth and keep the state’s agricultural sector globally competitive.

AgHack, which ran from Friday July 27 to Sunday July 29, was sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, in partnership with the Office of Digital Government and not-for-profit organisation Ministry of Data.

Participants were given access to DPIRD’s application programming interfaces for weather and radar, as well as new APIs for soils, science, organisms and Pestfax Map, to create concepts and prototypes to improve productivity and overcome obstacles to growth.

Winning group Dex developed a concept for better pest identification, while other concepts included using data to improve grain grading at the farm-gate and a digital mapping tool for measuring carbon offsets.

These concepts can be adapted for on-farm use in apps for mobile devices, monitoring and surveillance devices, decision making aids or other digital tools.

The hackathon provided a forum to stimulate technological innovation that could solve real-life problems, while participants got the opportunity to generate a potential new commercial digital product.

W.A. Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly said “The McGowan Government has once again partnered with Ministry of Data to collaborate with WA innovators and start-ups using open data to solve real-world problems in one of our most valuable sectors.

“Events like this bring together the best and brightest minds in the tech community to develop their ideas into potentially commercially attractive propositions and create WA jobs in the digital economy.”

The state’s Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan agreed that “Developing and adopting new technology is essential to keeping our agricultural sector internationally competitive.

“We need to engage our best and brightest minds in agriculture, and AgHack was a fantastic way to develop digital solutions to agricultural issues while making ag ‘cool’ again.

“Support of this event is part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to create an environment that supports new ideas, technology and business models that build opportunities to generate growth and jobs.”