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Atlanta Hosts Hackathon Seeking Governing Solutions

The city of Atlanta will host its first hackathon this weekend.

Local government hopes to harness the creativity of Atlanta’s tech talent to find solutions to infrastructure problems and improve Atlanta’s quality of living.

Atlanta’s Govathon is a riff on the coding marathons — referred to as hackathons — made famous at Facebook, where techies come together to develop features and products.

While corporations and non-profits host such sessions as a way to generate bursts of R&D, the Govathon would be Atlanta government’s first effort to funnel citizen power.

During the “hackathon” that ends Saturday, dozens of software developers, programmers and technologists will collaborate to develop Web sites, mobile apps and databases. They will use a trove of data supplied by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), MARTA and Midtown Alliance.

For example, ARC wants an app that will allow people to use a smart phone to track their use of sidewalks and bike trails around the region. Citizens would use the app to mark places where the trail ends, is damaged, or has a barrier (such as a telephone pole), that would prevent someone in a wheelchair from using it.

Such an app would help the city track where the pedestrian facilities are, where people use them most, and where the problems lie. It would also help bicyclists and pedestrians figure out the best ways to get where they want to go.

Another solution, is to design a portal to connect unused land in the city with local growers. It would allow landlords to open land, so citizens can create temporary community gardens.

MARTA would like to create a mobile app that not only shows bus/train data, but accounts for walking time to/from the stop to destination. The app could give more accurate prediction times to destination. Also, it could connect to friends using social networks so they would know when you are arriving.

Read more: AtlantaBusinessChronicle


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