Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Opportunities for Civic App Developers

There is no shortage of civic hacking events and app challenges taking place.

This is a good thing – it demonstrates the health of the civic hacking ecosystem, and the demand for open data to power these apps.

Google Places

However, two especially exciting opportunities for civic app developers seems to also be two of the less well known challenges currently going on. The Google Places API Developer Challenge, and the Knight News Challenge for Mobile.

The Google Places Challenge is being conducted in parternship with cities across the country and around the world – including Philadelphia. The idea is to use the Google Places API and mashup location-based data from local governments to create interesting and useful applications. Three lucky winners will get a trip to Google I/O and a chance to showcase their app. (Full disclosure – I am one of the judges of this challenge.)

The Knight News Challenge for Mobile is a unique opportunity to showcase ideas for using mobile devices and mobile access to “…improve news, information, democracy and communities.” This is a hugely exciting opportunity to pitch a solution to improve communities in an increasingly mobile world. Also, the idea of powering community change through mobile phones and devices is an idea I find exceptionally interesting.

I hope developers take a close look at these ongoing app contests – some great opportunities to reward people building great apps for their cities and communities.

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About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.

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