The BigApps competition, in which the city made its data available to developers so they could make apps out of them that would be helpful to citizens, and offered prizes to the best entries, closed last night with a ceremony and the announcement of three grand prize winners, a popular favorite chosen by the public, and six honorable mentions. Some of them are available already on iTunes, and we expect the others will be soon.
The three winners were:
WayFinderNYC. As shown in this video: Hold your phone as if you were taking a photo, and the app will show you the nearest stop and how to get there. Pan to see more stations. Click a station and get walking directions.
Taxihack. A social media review service for city cabs. ID the hack number of your ride, make a comment (“texting and taxihack 9y58 refuse to go to brooklyn”), and it goes into their database; users can check out the driver’s service. Find out if your driver’s crazy, and demand to be let out! Cabbies can use it too.
Big Apple Ed. Put in your address and the app directs you to nearby schools, and links to their ratings in several categories, academic and otherwise.
A “Popular Choice” award went to the winner of online votes from the public: NYC Way, available now at iTunes. It’s free, and offers a variety of services: “Street Eats” (though it seems to think the Spoonbill & Sugartown bookstore in Williamsburg is a food cart), traffic reports (with camera views), tourist attractions, wi-fi spots, Zip Car locations, and access to Twitter and Facebook. NYC Way also took the Investor’s Choice Award for “the application with the highest potential for commercialization.”
Second Place in the Popular Choice category went to Bookzee, also free from iTunes, in which you can enter the name of a book and find the New York Public Library branches that carry it.
The other honorable mentions went to Actuatr, which allows you to make data available in Excel, CSV, XML and other formats to developers (and helps them make apps out of them); PushpinWeb, which hosts, indexes, and builds visualizations for data; Trees Near You, also free at iTunes, which, uh, finds trees, and tells you a little about them (“2 inch trunk”); UpNext, a fun 3-D interactive map of New York (and Boston!) with location features (“Burgers/Hot Dogs”), also free at iTunes; and Overview New York City Parks and Recreation Online, which helps you find NYCPR facilities like baseball diamonds, golf courses, and water fountains on a map.
The winners split $200,000 and get dinner with the Mayor.