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Capping off a historic year of government transformation and grassroots innovation, the first HON*CELERATOR competition aims to inspire the best apps and online tools that use open data to improve the day-to-day lives of Honolulu residents.
Local software developers, designers, and entrepreneurs are being encouraged to tap into a growing library of government data to conceptualize, code, and ultimately demonstrate a useful or novel new app. HON*CELERATOR participants will have to present their work before the public and a panel of judges on Dec. 1.
That "demo day," taking place at The Box Jelly coworking space in Kakaako, will mark the culmination of public, private, and non-profit efforts to harness technology to streamlinegovernment services and encourage civic engagement. These include the first-ever CityCamp in January, launching the year-long engagement between the national Code for America organization and the City & County of Honolulu, and a series of community events that have earned national recognition and coverage.
Working independently or as a team, entrants will vie for a $5,000 first place prize, $3,000 second place prize and $2,000 third place prize, which will be provided by event sponsors that include Google, Hawaiian Telcom, ESRI, Socrata, and AIIM Aloha Chapter.
"You could say this will be the Superbowl of Hawaii hackathons," said Forest Frizzell, deputy director of the city's Department of Information Technology and a member of the inaugural class of Omidyar Foundation Fellows. "And all this great work on behalf of local residents is happening at no cost to taxpayers, being powered by enthusiastic volunteers and sponsors that see the great value and potential in what we're doing."
The HON*CELERATOR event is similar to other open, collaborative and competitive tech gatherings taking place around the world -- from Silicon Valley "hackathons" to Startup Weekend -- but with a civic-minded focus. It is part of a global movement to increase transparency, collaboration, and innovation at all levels of government and businesses.
"We've had a great year, opening up data sets and inspiring creative thinking across the board, from government workers to independent hackers," said Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data, Inc. and co-organizer of HON*CELERATOR. "With that momentum, and of course some cash prizes, we hope to see the best of the best."
In addition, a video crew from IBM's "Smarter Cities" group (in partnership with Centerline Digital) will be on hand to document the city government's open government community engagement efforts.
For more information on HON*CELERATOR, visit hon.celerator.org.
About Hawaii Open Data, Inc.
Hawaii Open Data is a pending 501(c) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing open data principles, policies, and practices in the Aloha State. In August, Hawaii Open Data was the recipient of a Hawaii Community Foundation "Island Innovation" grant to continue its work in improving data accessibility and integrity in support of public/private collaboration, government transparency, and civic engagement.