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Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty Announces Winners of Applications for Democracy Contest

To make DC government data more accessible and useful for the public.

by / November 13, 2008

Washington, D.C. Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra


Today District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Vivek Kundra announced the winners of the District's "Applications for Democracy" technology contest. The contest launched on October 14, 2008, invited software developers to compete for the best new applications to make DC government data more accessible and useful for the public.

"My administration is committed to making government more accessible and more transparent, and through this contest we've gotten help from the most talented developers," said Fenty. "I'm delighted with the responses. With these innovative applications, we can put government literally in the hands of the people."

The competition, open to the general public, asked developers to create mashup applications (a Web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool) for the district's data using popular consumer technologies like the iPhone, Facebook, Google Maps and others. Contest entries were required to use open source programming. Entries were judged by an appointed jury based on criteria including usefulness to citizens, usefulness to government, and originality.

The district collects and maintains vast stores of data on every aspect of government operations, from government contracts to crime statistics to economic development and much more. The district has already organized and published this data in a real-time data catalog with more than 200 data feeds. Applications for Democracy solicited the best and most cost-effective ways to package and present this data for easy viewing, analysis, and repurposing by the public.

The contest attracted more than 25 innovative applications, all licensed as open source and freely available to government and the public. Gold and silver contest winners include:

Gold Prize Winners:

1. Application: DC Historic Tours -- a slick Google Maps mashup that combines custom walking tour creation with Flickr photo feeds and Wikipedia entries. Users can click through to create a custom map, save it and reference it later when they're ready to tour the city.

Agency-Boalt Interactive

2. Application: -- presents users with information tailored to that exact location, cleanly organized into categories. The "Errands" category indicates how far the nearest shopping center, post office and convenience store are, among other things. "Crime" tabulates recently reported offenses in the area, and "The People" displays colorful pie charts giving demographic information. Users can also click on a category and the relevant items will be plotted on a map of their neighborhood.

Independent Developers: Travis Hurant, Tim Koelkebeck and Brian Sobel.

Silver Prize Winners (6):

1. Application: Park It -- an application that allows you to check a specific area in the District for parking information. Allows users to check parking information before leaving the house and to see which streets are available for parking. Users can also check which meters cost money and which are free. Park It DC will even help users find out if they're parking in a residential parking permit zone!

Independent Developer: Shaun Farrell

2. Application: Where's My Money, DC? -- a forum based Facebook application that encourages users to discuss procurements made by the DC government.

Independent Developer: Keith Bradner

3. Application: DC Crime Finder -- Determines the user's location and will return specific instances of various crimes based on a one-, two- or three-mile radius.

Independent Developer: Mark Headd

4. Application: Stumble Safely -- an online application that helps users find the best bars and a safe path to stumble home on.

Agency: Development Seed

5. Application: Point About -- a realtime, location-aware DC

alerting tool for the iPhone, which includes crime reports, building permits and more.

Agency: Point About

6. Application: We the People -- a peer-led community reference website that allows users to edit based on Washington, DC public data. We the People empowers everyone to make DC a more responsive community where all voices are heard and everyone can make a difference. Like Wikipedia, users can link any expression to its definition or another page.

Agency: Chrys Tarvin

Bronze winners and honorable mentions are listed at Votes are also being accepted for the People's Choice Award.

"While the immediate goal of the Applications for Democracy contest is to develop innovative software to present district data, its long-term goals are broader," said district CTO Vivek Kundra. By making government data easy for everyone to access and use, the district hopes to foster citizen participation in government, drive private-sector technology innovation and growth, and build a new model for government-private sector collaboration that can help all governments address the technology challenges of today and tomorrow.


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