Open Data app competition for City of Ottawa offers $38K in prizes

ottawa open data apps4ottawaThe City of Ottawa wants to reward developers for creative and useful applications that use the City Of Ottawa’s OpenData

OpenData can be used to create very useful applications. The City of Ottawa wants to encourage app developers to use City of Ottawa OpenData to create apps for city residents and visitors. All the details are available at, but I’ll summarize the big points here.

Who can enter?

Residents of a province or territory of Canada who have reached the age of majority. For a complete description of eligibility requirements refer to the rules.

What kind of OpenData is available from the city?

The City of Ottawa has a catalogue of OpenData you can choose from. You can find information about city beaches, ball diamonds, budgets, cycling networks, drinking water, elected officials, flu clinics, garbage and recycling schedules, libraries, museums, murals, city parking lots, recreation guides, sledding hills, splash pads, traffic web cams, wading pools and more.

What are the categories?

  • On The Move – apps to help people get around the city, including public transit, driving, cycling, and walking.
  • Having Fun – apps aimed at supporting leisure and fun in Ottawa, including recreation, cultural events, libraries, and other activities
  • Your City – apps designed to help people understand what’s happening in their city regardless of subject matter
  • Data Analysis and Visualizations – apps that present city data in a way that provides better understanding of the city and its operations.

What can I win?

  • $3,000 for first place, $ 2,000 for second place, $1,000 for third place in each category
  • $2,000 for the best Windows 8 app overall (did I mention Microsoft is sponsoring the competition?)
  • TIP: If you build for Windows 8, Windows Phone, or use Azure in your app, you could earn extra rewards through the Microsoft Canada Developer Movement. Just one app could earn you a Kinect or other cool rewards.

Any good resources out there to help me?

What are the important dates?

  • Idea campaign (submit and vote for best ideas) February 25 – March 11 – 2013
  • Competition entry period March 11 – May 13, 2013
  • Judging May 13 – May 31st, 2013
  • Awards June 2013

So what would you build?

You can pick one data source and build a useful app to present that information to users on a map or in a list. Or you can combine different data sources and get really creative. Here’s my idea, it’s a “Get the kids out of the house” app that based on the current weather conditions suggests a suitable nearby activity: It’s 36 degrees? find the nearest splash pad, its 5 degrees and raining? find a museum, its –5 and snowing? find a sledding hill. If you build that, let me know would you? I’d like to download it. OpenData is a powerful tool for great apps, more and more cities are providing OpenData for you to explore. You may start with an app for Ottawa but you may want to make additional apps for your city as well. Ottawa’s not the only city providing great data for developers.

So what are you waiting for, get coding?

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