San Diego, Calif. — GIS firm Esri named three winners of its 2014 Climate Resilience App Challenge during a Monday keynote at the company’s annual users’ conference in San Diego. Participants in the challenge designed free apps that use public geospatial data to help users make eco-friendly choices.
Esri founder Jack Dangermond joined Under Secretary Kathryn Sullivan, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Esri product manager Bernie Szukalski to announce the winners on stage.
The winners are:
Esri launched the contest this spring, in support of the White House Climate Data initiative, to promote the use of the company’s GIS data to create apps. The company said winners would be awarded more than $15,000 in prize money.
Winners told Government Technology that challenges and hackathons are good reasons to get to work.
"It'll stir up those developers who are sitting in their basements," Laudon said. "They want to just do something for fun. They might not do it as a job or whatever, but it's a great opportunity."
Chris Martin, one of the students who designed the Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis tool, said technology professionals love challenges that give them opportunities to flex their creative and engineering muscles.
"Tech people are driven by challenges like this. It doesn't matter that there's prize money or anything like that," he said. "It's the pride of, 'Can I put this together? Can I be successful? Can I make this work?'"
Martin and his colleagues from campus were already designing a solar-focused project as part of their school work when they heard of the challenge and adapted their focus for it.
"When we heard about the contest, we thought, 'That's the perfect place to showcase the data that we've put together,'" said Devon Piernot, another one of the team members.