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November 20, 2012 > Participate in Apps Challenge 2012

Participate in Apps Challenge 2012

Submitted By Guy Ashley

Alameda County invites everyone - the civic-minded, the technologically-savvy and everyone in between - to participate in the Alameda County Apps Challenge 2012, a unique day-long event that will challenge residents to harness the power of technology and open government to create web and mobile applications that benefit the community. Alameda County Apps Challenge 2012 will be held 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday December 8, 2012, at the Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Avenue, Castro Valley, just two blocks from BART.

"Got Code?'' is the theme of the event, the first Alameda County-sponsored marathon of technology collaboration - known in some circles as a "hackathon,'' "hack day,'' "hack fest,'' or "code fest.'' With such events sweeping the nation, participants have even been branded a "Peace Corps for Geeks'' who see the App-creating marathons as a way to "engage in a new kind of public service.''

Alameda County has already opened the floor to residents interested in the Apps Challenge - and the community's creative juices are flowing. Ideas submitted by residents to the Apps Challenge website include: "A gps-based app to report (hazards like) hurt squirrels or deer on the road, and give heads-up to other drivers that are driving close by," and "an app that shows tourists what to do.''

A Grand Prize of $3,000 will be awarded for the most creative and practical application or concept created at the Apps Challenge. A Second Place Prize of $1,500 and a Third Place Prize of $500 will be offered as well. Possible objectives of an Apps Challenge entry could be to improve civic engagement, and promote digital education and literacy.

Alameda County's event seeks to bring a new local spin on a "hackathon" phenomenon that has a foothold in mostly urban centers. Organizers hope bringing the Apps Challenge to Castro Valley will tap the enthusiasm of tech-savvy communities at the County's south and eastern edges - many on the doorstep to Silicon Valley - and motivate residents to showcase their own ideas or collaborate with others to create software apps or concepts that address unique community needs.

Alameda County Apps Challenge 2012 is an offshoot of the Alameda County Data Sharing Initiative, in which a robust online data portal has been set up at http://data.acgov.org to provide the public with easy-to-access links to public information about County government.

Available information includes complete records of 2012 crime reports taken by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, data about restaurant inspections and information about local parks and transit districts, and much more.

The new project marks the latest step in Alameda County's commitment to government transparency and public participation. Organizers of the Apps Challenge see the event as a great way to raise public awareness about the Data Sharing Initiative and to spark creative ideas that demonstrate the powerful potential of technology in showcasing important public information.

The cost to participate in the Alameda County Apps Challenge is $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Government employees can participate for free. To register go to: http://code.acgov.org.

For more about the Alameda County Apps Challenge 2012, go to http://code.acgov.org. For information about the Alameda County Data Sharing Initiative, go to http://data.acgov.org.

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