The object of the city-sponsored BigApps contest is to get developers to use publicly available data to solve some of New York’s biggest problems. After months spent winnowing the field to 20 finalists, last night Mayor Bill de Blasio doled out cash prizes to seven winners. So, which of your problems are about to be solved?
Frigid Apartments Will Get Warmer
Heat Seek is a small internet-enabled device that takes temperature readings in your apartment every hour, detecting heating violations and recording them in a log that can be used as evidence if you need to take your landlord to court. (Ideally, one lawyer who handles heat cases says, with such comprehensive evidence, tenants will be able to settle before going to court at all.) Heat Seek was awarded $20,000 as the best “Live” app, and won an additional $5,000 for being the best connected device.
Everyone Will Get a Better Job
NYCHired.com is a simple, streamlined job-search website that find positions for job seekers, regardless of skill level or experience, and provides real-time information on job openings. NYCHired was awarded $20,000 as the best “Work” app.
Harried Teachers Will Get Help
CourseKicker is a social network for teachers to connect and share tips, materials, and lesson plans. CourseKicker was awarded $20,000 as the best “Learn” app.
Parks Will Be Easier to Navigate
Explore NYC Parks integrates information about New York’s parks (like which ones have barbecues, or bocce ball courts, or astronomy classes) in a Google Maps interface. Explore NYC Parks was awarded $20,000 as the best “Play” app, and an additional $5,000 for being the best data tool.
Shopkeepers Will Get Savvy
Mind My Business sends shopkeepers alerts about rodent sightings, upcoming construction, 311 complaints, or changes to city regulations that could affect their businesses. Mind My Business was awarded $5,000 for being the best mobile app.
Kids (and Adults) Will Get Mentors
Dream See Do connects students and adults with New York-based mentors who can help them find their passions, understand their strengths, and make better career choices. Dream See Do was awarded $5,000 for being the best Web app.
Doing Good Things Will Get Fun
PIPs awards players with “positive impact points” when they make responsible choices like recycling, carpooling, or bike-sharing. Earn enough PIPs and you can use them to make purchases, donate to charities, or invest in projects. PIPs was awarded $5,000 for being the best game.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 17, 2014