Yesterday, at the Andreessen Horowitz Offices in Silicon Valley, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the winners of the Apps for Communities challenge.
The challenge, a several months-long call to developers to build apps that connect people to their communities, culminated with the submission of 75 innovative applications. The idea behind the challenge, which was sponsored by The Knight Foundation and the FCC, was as follows:
“Using hyper-local government and other public data [entrants] should develop an app that enables Americans to benefit from broadband communications — regardless of geography, race, economic status, disability, residence on Tribal land, or degree of digital or English literacy — by providing easy access to relevant content.”
Here is a quick summary of the winning entries that used our platforms:
YAKB.us (Grand Prize Winner)
YAKB.us is a realtime bus notification service that provides information via phone and SMS. The service, which is available in both English and Spanish, provides transit information in three municipalites – Arlington County VA, Charlottesville VA and Santa Clarita CA. This innovative application was built by Code for America fellow Ryan Resella.
PhillySNAP (Honorable Mention)
PhillySNAP makes it easy to get information on retailers in Philadelphia that provide reimbursement for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The service allows users to send an SMS message with their address and then it provides the addresses of retailers near them where they can use their benefits. This application was initially developed at the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon in Philadelphia this past June.
PhillySNAP was also featured on the SMSified blog several weeks ago.
Off to Market (Bonus: English Literacy)
Off to Market is another SMS-based app that provides the locations of farmers markets, where users can go to find fresh produce. It’s written in Node.js and uses the Tropo WebAPI. The developer – another Code for America alum, John Mertens – wrote a fantastic post on his blog about how he obtained, refined and staged the farmer’s market data for this app.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this outstanding challenge, and congratulations to all of the great apps that were honored as winners!