In this tech news, the first annual (hopefully) Code For Oakland hackathon is history. The event drew 102 people, complete with Oakland and San Francisco geeks, and notable non-geeks like AC Transit Board Member and long-time Oakland Piedmont Avenue Activist Chris Peeples, resulted in a number of fascinating and promising applications, all designed with the needs of Oakland's low-income residents and those who aren't well "connected" in mind.
The Saturday, June 4th meetup at Kaiser Center was sparked via the efforts of Oakland Local Founder and Editor Susan Mernitt, and "about 20 people," as Susan explained in the video, who contributed to getting Code For Oakland off the ground.
What's Code For Oakland?
Code For Oakland's mission was simply to have a "one day workshop to build an awesome mobile app." As one of the judges involved in the selection of the winning teams, I can share the criteria we were given to work under, and which were adopted from the Knight Foundation's "Apps For Communities" competition:
1. Make local public information more personalized, useable, and accessible for all.
2. Promote broadband adoption, particularly among Americans who are least likely to be regular Internet users (including low-income, rural, seniors, people with disabilties, and the low-digital, English literacy communities.)
3. Create better links between Americans and services provided by local, State, Tribal, and Federal Governments.
There were a number of interesting and fascinating apps created. Here's the winner's list below, from the Code For Oakland website:
$1500 Ramsell prize:Txt2work, mobile app to allow re-entering prisoners and parolees to search and apply for jobs via their feature phone. Team led by Elise Ackerman and David Chiu.
$500 Ramsell prize for youth,: Betta Stop, mobile app to allow tagging and commenting on quality of bus rides and schedule in Oakland. Team led by Krys Freeman.
$1000 Mozilla prize: Redirectory, platform for allowing mobile feature phone, web and smart phone access to local social services data, focus particularly on parolee and reentry data. Team led by Randall Leeds.
$1000 Pandora prize: OakWatch, mobile/web project to allow real time neighborhood reporting via mobile systems. Team lead by Robbie Trencheny.
$500 Urban Strategies Council–for work with Re-entry Data API prize: Redirectory, platform for allowing mobile feature phone, web and smart phone access to local social services data, focus particularly on parolee and reentry data. Team led by Randall Leeds.
$500 City of Oakland, for work with Oakland files prize: OaklandPM, schema to use social sharing and city & OUSD calendar information to build a mobile tool to let teens find out what after-school activities are available and which friends are going. Team led by Jed Parsons.
$250 Full Court Communications prize: Contxt, mobile service focuses on SMS text messaging: broadcast messaging to community organizers. Team led by Tim Sheiner.
$250 Full Court Communications prize: Oakland Food Finder, mobile/web service for allowing Oakland low-income shoppers (and others) to find out where healthy foods are available in their area and for food supplies (farmers markets, etc.) to broadcast what they have available. Team led by Michael Bernstein.
Addtionally, an in-kind prize from Citizen Space for three months of workspace was provided as a gift for the winners to share.
In the next blog post on Code For Oakland, we'll take a closer look at the winning apps. Meanwhile, Oakland should thank Susan Mernitt and her team.