New York City’s BigApps 2.0 contest offers $20,000 in prizes for smartphone developers who build application around New York’s municipal raw data, like government spending, school performance, crime rates, even book availability across the library system.
The data can be combined in any number of ways to use smartphones to add context to city information. For example, a Google search can provide information on, say, the best subway to take to a particular destination, but it doesn’t know about traffic, closed platforms or cancellations. In contrast, your smartphone knows you’re standing at 53rd and 3rd and can locate the subway or PATH station nearest you. That’s what last year’s big winner, WayFinder NYC, does. Second prize went to Taxihack, which lets passengers tweet about taxis and their drivers.
Because the city has nearly doubled the available data sets (to 350), this year’s contest promises to a produce a crop of still more interesting apps. Think of the city’s visitors, who are typically overwhelmed with the sheer volume of attractions. Imagine an an app that points them to shows, restaurants, hotels, transportation, WiFi hot spots, and on and on. It could well pay for itself if local advertisers pay to be featured.
The apps will be judged on quality of the idea, user experience, potential impact and, in some cases, potential for commercialization. The deadline for completed apps is January 26. The winner will be announced in March.
— Dino Londis