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 Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.

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