You know the best way to get something done? Have someone else do it for you. It’s the “Tom Sawyer” method. Cities around the world are realizing the best way to get a web or mobile app made is to just make public data more easily accessible via an open data set.
It’s great for developers because they have something useful to work with, people will want to use their application and it becomes a great sample to show others wanting to hire them for their talent.
Cities love it because the best ideas and apps simply bubble to the top.
At the SocialDevCamp conference in Chicago, I spoke with Gabe Klein, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation who launched a contest “Apps for Metro Chicago.” Developers were challenged to create a transportation app utilizing any of the 200 data sets released. In the end, there were 30 entrants and 12 finalists split the $50,000 in prizes.
The winners were:
- SpotHero – 1st Prize — Marketplace for renting out unused parking spaces
- FasPark – 2nd Prize — Find parking based on time and location
- InThirty – 3rd Prize — Helps pick locations based on city services
Watch the video as I talk with Klein and the three winners.