On May 15th, the City of Philadelphia announced the Philly311 Widget Contest—calling for civic coders and community activists to submit ideas for a new widget on the Philly311 Mobile App. We were both proud and honored to receive five outstanding submissions from five outstanding civic coders. After much debate between Philly311, the Office of Innovation and Technology and Public Stuff, the official Philly311 Widget Contest winner is…
The After School Programs Widget!
This widget, created by Chris Alfano, is a directory of after school programs. Chris is Co-Founder and CTO of Jarvus Innovations and is also a Code for Philly Brigade Captain. Through his open source application, users can browse available after school programs and activities throughout the city. The data powering the directory will be provided by the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP), which has been curating data from hundreds of after school program providers for over a decade. As lists for after school programs are often fragmented and hard to find, using ASAP’s information will bring a central and robust directory to any parent’s smartphone.
Now that the winner has been selected, the Philly311 Mobile App team will begin to work with Chris and ASAP to begin implementation. A formal communication will be made when the widget goes live on the app.
In addition to the After School Programs Widget, the contest received four other great submissions. Here’s a look:
Find your Trash and Recycling Day widget from Katherine Killebrew. Drawing from the City’s sanitation data, this widget works by either typing an address in a search bar or clicking a spot on a map to find the collect day of a specific address. One of the great things about this widget is that it will send an alert for an upcoming holiday to notify the user of a change in the collection schedule. (Link to the GitHub submission)
Lost Pet/ Pet Adoption widget from Ariel De Prada which aims to solve nearly every problem surrounding the issue of lost pets. With this widget, reporting a lost pet is as easy as filling out a form on your phone. Users can also report lost pets, report found pets, browse found pets and find links for animal shelters in Philadelphia. (Link to the GitHub submission)
Philadelphia Schools Data widget from Kevin Clough. With this widget, users can browse through all Philadelphia schools. When a user clicks on a specific school, he or she is taken to a page that lists school’s address, demographics, enrollment data, test scores and budget as well as its contact information. (Link to the GitHub submission)
Police District and City Council News widget from Keith Fulton. Splitting Philadelphia into the following categories: ROC Northeast; Northwest; Northeast; ROC South Central; Southwest; and South, this widget breaks down each category into specific police district. Once a user has chosen a specific police district, he or she can view that district’s police or district news. (Link to the GitHub submission)
As listed in the contest’s official post on BigIdeasPHL, the winner was chosen based on the app’s quality, utility and the following criteria:
- How the widget connects to Philly311
- How the widget relates to suggested topics (The contest strongly encouraged widgets that addressed Community Improvement; Digital Access (lack of access to computers/internet); Traffic; Public Health; Education; or Environment)
- Feasibility of hosting and maintenance
- How close the app is to being finished by the submission deadline
While choosing just one entry to win this contest pained us, the success of this contest was monumental. Five talented Philadelphia hackers volunteered hours of their time to solve a problem in our City. This contest not only exhibited the potential of Philadelphia’s tech community, but it also showed that Philadelphians, as a citizenry, are both willing and able to make positive impact in our city.
The MDO would like to extend a big thank you and congratulations to Chris—and to all of the civic hackers—for taking the time and dedication.