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San Diego Gets Results from 24-Hour Hackathon

Developers leverage city and sponsor data to fuel new app ideas.

by / March 27, 2012

Pet lovers, allergy sufferers and fitness enthusiasts are just some of the groups that stand to benefit from a recent 24-hour hackathon held in San Diego, Calif., aimed at encouraging software developers to come up with the next great city app.

The hackathon is just one component of the broader AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge, launched by Mayor Jerry Sanders in January. Entries can be submitted through April 11 for a share of $50,000 in prize money donated by challenge sponsors, including San Diego Gas & Electric, CONNECT and CleanTech San Diego. 

“It [the Apps Challenge] fits right in with San Diego’s entrepreneurial, innovative spirit, and we know our tech-savvy population will make it a huge success,” said Sanders when he announced the contest in January.

The hackathon, which began at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 23, challenged developers at all levels to come up with innovative mobile apps that contribute to an improved quality of life for the people of San Diego. Organizers provided access to key city data sets, including crime stats, permitting data, parks and beach information, and emergency preparedness information.

More than 90 software developers contributed to a total of 15 app entries at the hackathon. Prizes for the winners included gift cards as well as notebook and tablet computers.

Here are a few of the winners:

The StayFit app can connect the health-conscious user with his or her physician and trainer in order to accurately learn, track and measure assigned exercises. Physician or trainer views enable updates to prescribed programs, effectively digitizing home training programs.

The Good Days app equips San Diego allergy sufferers with tools to manage allergies and improve overall health, pulling active and passive data from the user’s smart device and external data sets including AT&T's mHealth platform.

Unleash SD offers quick access for San Diego pet owners to pet-friendly public amenities.

While this event is AT&T’s first in conjunction with a city government, the company is planning 25 more hackathons this year at various locations throughout the country. “On average, two apps from each hackathon eventually reach the marketplace,” explained Ignacio De La Torre, regional vice president for external affairs for AT&T.

De La Torre expects similar success for the company’s San Diego event. “With the support of the city of San Diego and Mayor Sanders, we expect several of the apps developed from both competitions to become mainstream mobile tools for San Diegans.”

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Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.

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