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Louisville residents propose apps to improve city

Feb. 24, 2013 @ 02:34 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new contest aims to get creative and innovative Louisville residents working on technical solutions to make the city better.

The Hack-a-thon offers awards of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 to the teams with the top concepts.

Louisville resident Aaron Drake was one of the participants in Saturday’s contest. He told The Courier-Journal he likes to ride the bus but gets frustrated when it is delayed. The 29-year-old software developer is proposing an app that would track the buses’ whereabouts.

“If I knew they were late, I would hang back at the office for a while,” Drake said.

The contest was organized by Metro government and the San Francisco-based nonprofit Code for America. Louisville’s event was part of a national software-coding and app development weekend promoted by the nonprofit that spanned 22 cities.

“Competitions like this are a really fantastic way to bring a whole range of ideas and creativity out,” said Ted Smith, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Economic Growth & Innovation. “.We have open data about our community but we don’t have all the ideas for how that data can be used.”

Smith said teams on Saturday tackled issues such as crime data and bicycling routes, with most of them creating apps for mobile devices.

The top three concepts will be chosen by a panel of volunteers. If the winners accept the prize money, they must agree to share the rights to their work with the Metro government, Smith said.