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NYCEDC Announces Winners of NYC BigApps 3.0 Hackathon

Press Release


New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the winners of the NYC BigApps 3.0 Hackathon, a weekend-long event which provided NYC BigApps 3.0 participants an opportunity to jumpstart their entries for this year’s competition. NYC BigApps is the City’s annual competition – now in its third year - that challenges developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using official City data. As is the case for all BigApps participants, those who participated in this weekend’s Hackathon were able to explore NYC Open Data, a web platform managed by the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). NYC Open Data supplies more than 700 hundred sets of public data produced by City agencies and other City entities, in order to produce applications that can improve New Yorkers’ quality of life, increase government transparency, and foster technology startups. This weekend’s Hackathon participants were also given the opportunity to find teammates, talk to representatives from various companies providing APIs, and compete for $2,500 in prizes. The first place prize for best overall application was awarded to “Can I Park Here?” which provides users with real-time information on whether they can legally park in a particular parking space. The Hackathon was held over the weekend at Pivotal Labs, and brought together nearly 75 participants and API partners.

“I would like to congratulate all the winners of the NYC BigApps 3.0 Hackathon,” said Seth W. Pinsky, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “This weekend, we once again witnessed the type of top-flight talent and creativity that exists right here in New York City. The NYC BigApps program is helping us to develop the City’s next generation of entrepreneurs, and ensure that New York City continues to grow as a global hub of innovation and government transparency.”

“As we continue unlocking agency data with powerful new tools like NYC Open Data, developers use that data to unlock their imaginations to the world,” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. “And by consistently engaging with – and learning from – the city’s vibrant tech community, we’re keeping New York City at the fore of innovative, collaborative open government efforts. I thank all this weekend’s participants – and encourage them to keep technology on the leading edge of their lives.”

The complete list of NYC BigApps 3.0 Hackathon winners includes:

  • Grand prize: Can I Park Here?: Created by Eric Rafaloff; Provides users with real-time information on whether they can legally park in a specific parking space.
  • 2nd prize: Scene Near Me: Created by Avi Dabir, Luis Miranda, and Dan Blumberg; Sends Foursquare users text messages if they are near famous film locations in New York City.
  • 3rd prize: NYC Taxi Tracker: Created by Alastair Coote; Allows users to track cab medallion numbers and drivers, compare route data, and review their cab experiences.
  • Hackers’ Choice Award (tie): Can I Park Here? and NYC Taxi Tracker
  • For their efforts, the winners were each awarded various prizes. The Grand Prize winner was awarded a $1,000 Amazon gift card, with Second Place receiving a $750 gift card, Third Place a $500 card; and the two Hacker’s Choice award recipients splitting a $250 card.

As with all NYC BigApps submissions, Hackathon participants were required to use data from NYC Open Data, and judging was based on the quality of the idea, implementation, and potential impact for New York City. The judging panel for the Hackathon included: Amish Jani, Founder and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital; Chris Wiggins, Co-founder, HackNY and Associate Professor, Columbia University; Josh Knowles, Managing Director, Pivotal Labs (New York Office); Kellan Elliott-McCrea, CTO, Etsy; Ulrich Quay, Vice-President, BMW iVentures; Carole Post, Commissioner, NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT); Kristy Sundjaja, Senior Director and Head of Industry Transformation Dept., NYCEDC; and Rachel Sterne, Chief Digital Officer, City of New York. Past winner MyCityWay and a number of API partners were also in attendance, including representatives from Bit.ly, Foursquare, Yipit, Tumblr, Etsy, NY Times, Meetup, 8coupons, CartoDB, Magma, RecordSetter, GetGlue, Minus, StreetEasy, and Zemanta. The Hackathon was managed by ChallengePost, the New York startup that powers all of the NYC BigApps competitions.

"ChallengePost had a blast managing the Hackathon," said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost. "The event catalyzed app development for this year's 3.0 challenge, and it was obvious that there's a strong, diverse community out there who support this initiative."

Originally launched in 2009, the BigApps competitions are a partnership between NYCEDC and DoITT, which aim to improve government transparency, as well as improve the daily lives of New York City residents and visitors. This year, BigApps 3.0 – which is also being launched in partnership with BMW iVentures - is making even more City data sets available. More than 60 City agencies, Commissions, and BIDs are making more than 230 new data sets available, bringing the total number of data sets available to developers to nearly 750. Over the course of the previous two competitions, NYC BigApps has helped create more than 140 new and innovative applications, with this year’s competition prepared to build upon that success. Winning applications this year will receive cash prizes totaling $50,000, in addition to several non-monetary prizes. Submissions are due by 5pm EST on January 25, 2012. Official competition rules and updates can be found on the competition website: www.nycbigapps.com.

NYC BigApps is part of the NYCEDC’s larger efforts to further catalyze the City’s technology sector and grow the entrepreneurial community. With a network of incubators around the City, the City is providing low-cost office space, as well as training and networking opportunities, to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. In addition, in 2010, NYCEDC – in partnership with FirstMark Capital - launched the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund (NYCEF), the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley, which makes up to $22 million available to New York City-based technology startups. In October, the City received 7 responses from 17 of world’s top institutions for Applied Sciences NYC, which seeks a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City. Selection will be announced in early 2012 based on the proposal that will generate the greatest benefit to the City for the lowest commitment of City resources.

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About NYC DoITT

The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications modernizes, unlocks, and innovates to improve IT infrastructure and service delivery in New York City government. As part of NYC BigApps 3.0, DoITT launched NYC Open Data, which provides hundreds of datasets in a variety of machine-readable formats and APIs for direct connectivity to data feeds; enhanced browsing and search capabilities allowing users to search by full dataset – or by datum within datasets; visualization tools such as maps, charts and graphs; and discussion forums for user feedback and suggestions.

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