acApps: Driving Civic Engagement in Alameda County
By Alida Moore
At their first acApps hackathon, Alameda County brought together civic innovators and developers alike to create smart apps to help improve services. Many ideas were born of that hackathon, including AC BookIt!, a clever mobile app that allows users to scan the code on any book to find out if that book was available in the Alameda County library system. Users can connect their library card to the app and, if the book is available, the app will reserve it and give driving directions to the library branch holding it.
Innovation like this is pretty par for the course for the citizens of Alameda County. After hosting two successful hackathons in 2012 and 2013, the County is proud to announce their third challenge will take place on May 3, 2014, at Dublin High School. Socrata is a proud sponsor of this event.
Alameda County created acApps in order to bring together residents of all skill levels and age groups, including professional and novice developers, high school and college students, and senior citizens. Mostly, the County invites anyone with a passion for civic engagement, regardless of technical background.
County Administrator Susan Muranishi has been impressed with how the County’s open data program acts as a catalyst for more creativity in the community. “The open data initiative is a win-win for us, ” she says. “The community has access to our data and we, in turn, have engaged and encouraged them to use that data to help the County improve services and be more efficient and effective.”
Participants in the upcoming acApps challenge will form into teams, discuss ideas, and begin the work of creating their new, brilliant apps. There are just two requirements. Each app must:
- Benefit Alameda County residents, businesses and/or visitors and…
- Use at least one of the datasets from Alameda County Open Data (or create data about Alameda County)
The next acApps challenge begins at 8:30 in the morning. To register, click here.
We look forward to seeing what apps come out of this challenge and writing a follow-up recap post. Check back for updates!