Code for America Tech Awards

Code for America awards celebrate “techquity”

OAKLAND, CALIF -- As events kicked off for the Code for America Summit on Sept. 30, the city’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, spoke strongly about knocking down the digital divide between technology and government services with what she called, a digital bridge and “techquity.”

“Let’s admit, government hasn’t always treated people equally,” Schaaf said. “Techquity is the idea that we deliver city services in a way that reaches our most vulnerable populations….[and] use the power of government to have a very intentional conversation with our tech business community about being diverse.”

And in celebration of said tequity, Code for America announced the winners of its inaugural Technology Award program, which honored innovators who are building or implementing software for the public sector.

"As governments struggle to meet the public's needs in a digital era, the tools and platforms that public servants use must do a better job, and the marketplace for suppliers to government must change," Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, said in a statement. "These examples, which include the work of companies, public servants, and engaged citizens, set a higher bar for government technology to which the whole sector must aspire."

The Technology Award winners included:

CityGram, a notification platform that hooks into Charlotte, N.C.’s open data system to send subscribers updates on topics they’re interested in. It has successfully delivered more than 1.3 million updates to residents of Charlotte.

GitHub, which has transformed the way developers around the world work together on complex projects. It facilitates internal collaboration and has been useful on open source, open data, and open government efforts by giving government a forum to get feedback from their end users, to publish data in a free, lightweight way. Github is already used by over 1,500 government organizations and over 30,000 government employees across the United States and around the world.

SeeClickFix, which provides an integrated platform for 311 service request collection and management. Citizens submit requests via SeeClickFix mobile apps and website tools and requests are routed either manually or automatically based on location and request type to the right person with the right information.

Qu, which is an open source data platform created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to easily let users query complex data, combine it with other data and summarize that data. Qu’s reusable, extensible platform can be used by any organization to create a REST API for large amounts of information, allowing the public to get the raw information or create aggregations for their own use. It  includes an ETL pipeline for ingesting data and a Socrata Open Data API-inspired REST interface.

Details on all 13 winners can be found on the Code for America website.

About the Authors

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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