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Central Queensland Disaster Hack 2018

Innovative and collaborative disaster management solutions

In June, Central Queensland held its first hackathon—CQ Disaster Hack 2018. It brought 40 participants from diverse backgrounds to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ conference centre in Rockhampton and challenged them to find new and innovative ways to improve Central Queensland’s disaster management.

In times of disaster, government employees find it hard to get to affected locations to assess the impact and arrange for assistance. Important infrastructure, such as roads, communication, electricity and water, is often in disrepair. Disaster coordination centres and senior staff can have trouble getting real-time information and reporting to help with their emergency response.

The CQ Disaster Hack 2018 focussed on 3 themes:

  1. Data and digital technology: how can we use data and digital technology to enable us to react quickly, effectively, efficiently and collaboratively?
  2. Process: how can we redesign the process to enable our people to react quickly, effectively, and collaboratively?
  3. Citizen experience: how can we improve the citizen experience before, during and after disaster management operations?

Representatives from the Queensland Government, local government, businesses, charitable organisations, and universities were grouped into 7 multi-disciplinary teams. These teams worked on an innovative and collaborative solution to 1 of the 3 themes.

Many of the teams built working platforms and had excellent ideas to build on to enhance disaster management in Queensland.

The next step will be to capture and analyse all the work completed during the hackathon and look at how we might bring these ideas to life. Their eventual implementation will be the true measure of their success.The winner was iRecover, who addressed the Citizen experience theme. They built an app that lets users ask for and offer help to one another during and after a disaster. A family could raise a call for nappies and formula, and members of the community could direct them to where they might be available. The app could help build community capacity and resilience to better respond to disasters.

Read the lessons we learnt from this initiative.