“I thank all the creative citizens and technologists who answered our call for innovative ideas and applications. With the help of these homegrown innovators, we’re engaging the community in government and building a digital democracy model for governments everywhere.” – District Interim CTO Chris Willey.
Today District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Chris Willey announced the winning entries in the District’s second “Apps for Democracy” innovation contest.
The contest, launched on May 4, 2009, invited residents and software developers to compete for cash prizes for ways to improve city service requests. The competition replicates the highly successful results of the first Apps for Democracy contest last year, which invited the public to compete in developing applications to make District government data more accessible and useful for the public. The 2008 contest produced 47 innovative and useful applications in 30 days at a total cost of only $50,000.
The Apps for Democracy, Community Edition competition had two parts.
The first part of the contest asked citizens to offer ideas about how technology can improve government operations and the community. 230+ insights are here.
The second part of the contest challenged developers to create applications that make it easier to submit online requests for city services such as vacant property inspections, tree removals, street repairs, non-emergency public safety assistance, and others. The applications were required to use open source programming. Developers could access the District’s over 270 public data feeds and could use the District’s new 311 API (Application Programming Interface), aka “Open 311,” which allows users to build custom applications for submitting service requests. The District is the first city in the world to launch an Open 311.
The contest attracted nearly 230 insightful ideas and innovative applications. Entries were judged by an appointed jury representing the District government, the technology community, and the media. Participating judges were:
• Kevin Donahue, DC CapStat Director
• Janice Quintana, Director, DC Office of Unified Communications
• Chris Willey, DC Interim CTO (OCTO)
• Peter Corbett, CEO, iStrategyLabs
• Brendan Sweeney, Producer, WAMU, Kojo Nnamdi Show
The judges chose the winning entries based on criteria including usefulness to citizens, usefulness to government, and originality.
And the winner is!
The $10,000 prize winner is the team of Victor Shilo, Roman Zolin, and Andrey Andreev for their innovative app that enables iPhone access (download from iTunes) to the District’s 311 city service site, coupled with a supporting Facebook App. Users can submit and view service requests by category, view service requests by location on an interactive map, provide details on their requests through an interactive Q&A feature, and even visit a “Hall of Fame” to see who has submitted the most requests.
The ability to use the iPhone’s GPS capabilities and built in camera to map specific issues (like potholes, broken parking meters etc.) is very promising from both a city management, and citizen service perspective.
You can view a demo here:
An Honorable Mention goes to Zvi Band and Zach Goodwin for FixMyCityDC, a web-based application that allows users to submit service requests by problem type, and check their status via an interactive map. The app also offers the option of a phone call to the user when the problem has been resolved.
In addition to the prize, the winning team will receive a grant to support their application for the next nine months. FixMyCityDC, the DC 311 iPhone app, and the Facebook app will be combined to create a seamless, mobile/social/web solution tentatively called “DC Open 311″ . All of the applications will be released with open source licenses and can be used freely by governments and the public.
All applications developed during Apps for Democracy can be found in our Application Directory.
A video interview of Chris Willey, Interim CTO of Washington DC was recently interviewed about the impact of Apps for Democracy:
A full overview video of Apps for Democracy “Community Edition” is here: