Calling all geniuses and creative types. The City of Palo Alto is looking for someone to create software applications to help government better interact with its citizens.
The city's 2014 Apps Challenge builds on its CityCamp Palo Alto event, which was held last June as part of the first Annual National Day of Civic Hacking. The apps competition is open to all and aims to launch an app that will improve engagement between local government and the community, city officials said.
Applicants can register at www.hackpaloalto.org through Friday, Feb. 28. Submissions are free and open to anyone legally residing in the United States. Cash prizes include $3,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Winners also receive a commemorative plaque and free incorporation services. Participants can enter as many times as they wish.
"We hope that this competition will bring people together from different backgrounds and ideas to all focus on one thing -- helping to make a difference in our community. An apps competition sustains the momentum of our efforts to be a leading digital and smart city. We also expect it will be a lot of fun for families too," City Manager James Keene said.
Individuals and teams can enter as many times as they wish. Initially, entrants just need the ability to communicate an idea in a convincing manner, while finalists will be ultimately required to demonstrate their idea as a working prototype, city officials said.
"People want to participate and make a difference in their community using their unique skills," said Jonathan Reichental, the city's chief information officer. "The apps competition is an exciting forum for that to happen. There is no doubt now that mobile devices are where the future of user computing will reside. We have to bring more government services to those devices and this competition will help to spur innovation and idea creation in this important area."
The city will announce the finalists on March 13. Finalists will display their work in progress for public and judges viewing on April 27. A showcase of the final prototype with judging and prizes takes place May 31, the 2nd Annual National Day of Civic Hacking. Updates are available at www.facebook.com/hackpaloalto and on Twitter at twitter.com/hackpaloalto.