City and county of Honolulu holds first 'Hackathon'

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This Friday and Saturday, a mix of programmers and entrepreneurs will come together to develop computer apps designed to improve the day-to-day lives of Honolulu residents.

The "Hackathon" is a free event that is open to anyone with an idea or an interest in contributing to tools that can better connect citizens with government information and services. Whether focused on traffic, trash pickup, community events or neighborhood statistics, the possibilities are endless. And cash prizes, provided by event sponsors, will be awarded to the teams that develop the most innovative and useful apps.

Modeled after successful civic hackathons staged in other cities, this first Honolulu competition emphasizes both creativity and agility. Teams will have 24 hours to quickly design and develop a working prototype of their applications, which means that several useful tools will have progressed from idea to reality by Saturday afternoon.

Going forward, the hope is that these apps will be made available to the public. A successful Hackathon will both enhance the lives of regular citizens, and also fuel opportunities for Honolulu's burgeoning tech community.

The City has been working to make more of its massive datasets freely available, via the web and via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Just last week, a "GIS Guide for Honolulu Hackers" was published to accompany newly published Geographic Information System (GIS) map data, just in time for the Hackathon.

These efforts complement this year's Code For America engagement, in which notable leaders in technology and e-democracy will spend time in Honolulu to help governments work better for everyone. Honolulu is one of eight cities that will host Code for America Fellows in 2012.

The Hackathon will take place at McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Beach Park (1201 Ala Moana Boulevard) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 20; and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 21. Click here for the official flier.

Prize Details: Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges and apps will be evaluated based on criteria including the depth of the overall concept, the potential impact for the community, the working prototype, and its user interface. Click here for the official rules.

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