The government has finally noticed that East London has gone digital. In their own sweet, ham-fisted way, the eager and slightly-incompetent Sir Humphrey types that run the country have decided to put some money into the digital scene. We can only hope they don’t do too much damage in the process. If Hackcamp is anything to go by, they might actually do some good.

This weekend event was based around the idea that hacker-types can do a good job of interpreting, enhancing, mashing and generally messing about with government data, and is part of the Linked.gov initiative. This process should, in theory, lead to impenetrable government information being made accessible and useful for the first time. Over the weekend, much data was grasped from servers in dusty basements and thrust, blinking, into the daylight. Yes, the information that you’ve kindly paid to be produced (using your hard-earned taxes), could potentially be put to good use as a result of a weekend of furious coding by unfettered geeks.

The format was a team-based competition to create useful services, in a Launch-48 style weekend race to deliver a working prototype. The ideas range from the bizarre to the amazing, and all flavours in between.

Here’s a selection of the winners:

Winner of Jury’s and People’s Choice
The Christopher Hitchens Holiday Fun Club – http://holidayfunclub.heroku.com/
This amazing application was based on a concept coined by Christopher Hitchens, who seeks out basket-case countries to visit, in order to remind him of why the UK is so good. So if you’re waiting for a late train in the rain, perhaps you should have a look and see how lucky you really are.

Winner of the “Serious Silliness” award
Keep Calm and… Smuggle On! – http://linkedgov.hackcamp.org.uk/hacks/keep-calm-and-dot-dot-dot-smuggle-on
This highly entertaining game idea was based on the business of running a smuggling empire. I’ve not checked it recently, to see how far it developed, but the concept is sound. It caught the imagination of the audience, so I hope a commercial deployment comes around in due course

Co-winner of the “Best Mobile App” award
UK Travel Advice – http://linkedgov.hackcamp.org.uk/hacks/uk-travel-advice
This handy little app gives you up-to-date FCO advice for the countries and regions you’re in. Using caller ID technology, it allows diallers to ring in from anywhere in the world to hear crucial local information from the UK government.

Winner of “Best use of data/Best commercial sauce” award
@ukgovcontracts – http://twitter.com/#!/ukgovcontracts
This handy twitter feed is an extract of some of the public sector contracts which are coming up for grabs. All you need to do is simply follow, read and tender – and your firm could benefit from some juicy contracts. Could you be building the next public-sector white elephant, or supplying widgets to the Ministry of Silly Walks? Follow and find out.

Hackcamp was hosted at Lost Boys International, Atlantis Building, Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. That might actually be the coolest sounding address in London. In fact, it was a slightly funky basement. In order to attract techies, free nibbles and beer was provided. If you’re a techie type, or fancy a try at digital entrepreneurship, keep an eye out for any future events from Linkedgov