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Mike McGinn

Have a great idea for an app that could make life a little bit better in Seattle or Washington state? Now might be the time to dust it off, and get your developer friends to burn the midnight oil on it.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has unveiled the Evergreen Apps Challenge, a new contest that’s designed to get app developers thinking creatively about using government data from data.seattle.gov, data.wa.gov, and datakc.org.

And yes, there is cash at stake. Supported by the City of Seattle, Washington State’s Broadband Office and King County — and backed in part through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — more than $75,000 in prize money will be awarded in about a dozen categories. The challenge officially begins July 9th, with the competition concluding September 6th.

Of course, Seattle has a rich history of mobile app development, from addictive games to super helpful transportation apps. So, we’re excited to see what folks create.

McGinn made the announcement at Startup Weekend GOV last weekend, a first-of-its-kind hackathon where developers were encouraged to leverage government data in new ways.

“We hope the awards give the Startup Weekend Gov teams incentive to keep going and encourage even more people to participate in this inclusive apps challenge,” said City of Seattle Councilmember Bruce Harrell. The challenge is open to students, individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Ten teams were formed at the Startup Weekend event, with judges picking five of their favorites:

WhichBus: Combines trip planning and real-time arrival info in one app, and includes a Twilio-powered SMS interface that lets you text starting address and ending address to 206-745-6287, with a text of a bus itinerary.

Art Rover: Uses the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs public art database on data.seattle.gov to create walking maps of public art for tourists and scavenger hunts for locals.

Reporta: Allows users an easy way to report issues in your neighborhood to the City of Seattle in the same data format the city uses.

Civic Rally: A cross between Kickstarter and the Neighborhood Matching Fund, that lets community members post projects and solicit money and volunteer time from their neighbors to complete them.

My Spot: A smartphone app that reminds you when your time is up at a parking spot, and then lets you feed the meter remotely.

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