Palo Alto, CA - As part of the second National Day of Civic Hacking, the grand finale of the Palo Alto Apps Challenge will take place on May 31 and will be streamed live via local access Channel 27 starting at 8 p.m. The event will also be streamed online at www.hackpaloalto.org. Viewers can check out the apps online and cast their vote beginning at noon on May 30 at www.hackpaloalto.org/vote. The first place winner will receive $3,500 with second place awarded $1,500 and third place $500.
Seven Palo Alto residents were selected to serve as judges to review the 74 high-quality app ideas that were submitted last January. Of the ten finalists who were chosen to proceed with their entry, 30 percent are under the age of 18, and several groups have no coding experience. App ideas were required to increase community engagement in some way.
“The Apps Challenge has engaged members of our community in a completely new way,” said City Manager James Keene. “People are not only thinking deeply about the problems we need to solve, they are building the solutions.”
Since the finalists were announced on March 13, the teams have been diligently working to produce their app with some first-hand knowledge and insight from experts at leading Silicon Valley companies. For example, developers from Cloudera offered individual time and support to the budding Apps Challenge contenders, answering questions, giving advice and helping with work flow issues.
Competing for first place are nine apps that include two pet-friendly apps—Adopt Me, for tracking and sharing information on pets in shelters; and Dogs in the Neighborhood, for connecting dog owners with their peers.
There are two teen groups from Paly and Gunn high schools with the apps Tall Tree Teens, an app to collect teen opinions on city issues, and clickPA Mobile, an app to help teens quickly find local entertainment and events.
Play Palo Alto encourages civic involvement through games and challenges, while GO CO2 Free Palo Alto is an app intended to guide residents to lower their carbon footprint.
BikeWatch encourages bike safety and provides route information and additionally aims to reduce bike theft. Enabled City (originally known as Wheelchair Friendly Palo Alto) collects and displays information about handicap access around town. The Farm connects neighborhood gardeners to coordinate planting schedules, share seeds and facilitate pollination as well as share information and tools.
“The quality of ideas surpassed our expectations. Every one of the 74 entries was compelling and thoughtful,” said Palo Alto Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental. “The judges had a tough time narrowing it down, and as we approach the grand finale, it’s clear they made some great choices.”
For more information on the Palo Alto Apps Challenge, go to www.hackpaloalto.org.