D.C. launches round two of apps contest

The best reuse of government data will be rewarded with cash, commercialization opportunities

Washington, D.C., officials kicked off a contest that will award small cash prizes to development firms or individuals who most effectively reuse the city's data feeds in an online application. The overall winner might also receive a grant to commercialize its creation.

The contest, called Apps for Democracy Community Edition, is a follow-up to last year's Apps for Democracy competition.

"Our mission is to make living in and visiting Washington a better experience for all through the use of citizen-driven technology innovation," wrote Peter Corbett, chief executive officer of media consulting firm iStrategyLabs, in a blog posting. The company has managed both contests for the city.

The basic idea is the same: Officials are challenging third-party developers to write applications that reuse information from the city's Data Catalog, which gathers internal databases that cover many aspects of city life — from crime incidents to building permits. The creators of the two most innovative and useful applications that run on the Web or other platforms such as cell phones will receive cash awards.

The latest contest has some new features. For example, it will be broken into two phases, with first and second prizes awarded at each phase. The first round will involve a code jam in which demonstration versions of the applications will be reviewed. Developers will have two weeks to revise their applications based on the feedback from the code jam before winners of the second phase are announced.

The contest also asks D.C. residents to suggest ideas for how technology could improve the quality of life in the city.. The judges will use those ideas as the basis for judging the submissions.

The code jam will be held June 6 and 7, with final submissions due June 21. Officials will announce the winner the following day and award a cash prize of $10,000. If the winning entry is deemed suitable, the developer might also receive a grant of as much as $14,000 to commercialize the technology.

For the previous contest, developers submitted 47 applications.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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