2010-10-15 / Community

NYC Launches BigApps 2.0 Competition

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith have launched NYC BigApps 2.0, the second annual contest for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using City data. Building upon the success of the inaugural NYC BigApps Competition launched in October 2009, the City has roughly doubled the number of datasets available, bringing the total to more than 350. These datasets provide developers and programmers with additional material, including public safety data, buildings complaints, and real-time traffic numbers from which to create new digital applications. Last year’s winning applications are today helping New Yorkers find mass transit routes, review public school information and gather an array of information based on their current location.

This year’s winning applications will receive cash prizes totaling $20,000. Deputy Mayor Steel detailed the program at NY Tech Meetup, a monthly meeting of tech entrepreneurs where companies and developers demonstrate new technologies. Steel will be joined at the announcement by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post and Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver.

“NYC BigApps combines two of our Administration’s important priorities: making civic information more readily available to New Yorkers and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The inaugural NYC BigApps competition yielded an array of creative uses for City data, and – with nearly twice as much data formatted for application use this year – there are even more possibilities with version 2.0.”

“The most important thing that the public sector can do to help create jobs through technology innovation is to provide our talented entrepreneurs with the tools to create new products,” said Steel. “The BigApps competition does this by providing open access to City Data. Through the competition, we encourage the development of applications that can then be commercialized, spurring job growth and economic development in New York City.”

“NYC BigApps is redefining the relationship between City agencies and enterprising citizens, all while delivering value to the public,” said Goldsmith. “Last year, NYC BigApps contestants came up with innovative applications that would have never been created in the normal course of business. There is more data available for use in this year’s competition, so the potential for new and innovative tools that can benefit New Yorkers is even greater.”

“Last year’s Big Apps competition was an enormously successful way to achieve multiple goals: supporting the City’s important technology sector, giving entrepreneurs opportunities to create new products, and increasing the accessibility and transparency of City government,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “This year’s expanded contest promises to promote even more innovation and creative thinking among the vibrant and growing tech community in New York. We look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”

“NYC BigApps, and the DataMine site that supports it, sits at the heart of the City’s open data efforts,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Post. “This effort complements the many other ways we’ve worked to bring technology to life for New Yorkers, including 311 Online and the 311 iPhone app. Beyond today’s competition, we’ll continue enhancing the functionality of DataMine and expanding the amount of data available there for use across the City and around the globe.”

“At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, we’re exploring new ways to share information about City resources and services across multiple platforms,” said Oliver. “Already we’ve reached new audiences through QR codes on the Staten Island Ferry and on the sides of sanitation trucks, and we’re making the content of our online Video On Demand player available on various mobile devices. The NYC BigApps Competition is the perfect opportunity to further communication between the government and the public.”

The NYC BigApps Competition is open to individuals, and companies and non-profit organizations with fewer than 50 employees. More than 160 datasets have been added to the 190 compiled for the inaugural competition. New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications coordinated with over 40 City agencies and commissions to provide the datasets, with 15 new City agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority and the Campaign Finance Board, participating in Data Mine for the first time. New data on public safety, the City budget, complaints to the Department of Buildings, and real-time traffic information will all be available for download today at www.nyc.gov/data.

The Data Mine was established for last year’s competition and, as part of the City’s efforts to promote transparency across agencies, all data will remain available for public use after the conclusion of the competition. Additional datasets will be made available throughout the year. Information and updates on the NYC BigApps competition, as well as official rules, can be accessed at the competition website: www.NYCBigApps.com.

Fourteen winners will be chosen in total, including two new prizes – best application created by a high school, college or full-time graduate school student; and a Large Organization Recognition Award for organizations with 50 or more employees, which will not eligible for a cash prize. A panel of judges from the technology and venture capital community will select winners for Best Overall Application (Grand Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize and five honorable mentions), Investor’s Choice Application, City Talent Award, Student Award, and the Large Organization Recognition Award. Two Popular Choice Application awards will be determined by public voting. Judging criteria will include the benefit to residents, visitors and City government; the quality and implementation of the idea; and potential commercial value.

All submissions are due on January 12, 2011. The Popular Choice Application winners will be selected by public vote through www.NYCBigApps.com between January 26 and February 26. Winners will be selected and announced at an awards ceremony to be held in March.

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