Earlier this year, the Texas Department of Information Resources facilitated a first-of-its-kind, interstate challenge—the Indiana-Texas Hackathon—to see which of two states could build the best mobile application based on publicly available government data.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) were chosen to represent Texas. Each agency uploaded data to the Texas.gov Open Data Portal, then presented ideas to the state's citizen developer community.
Through this innovative event, application developers built prototypes of responsively designed mobile applications for both agencies at no cost. The TxDOT app was developed to assist the agency, construction crews, and drivers in planning, implementing and navigating Interstate 35 corridor construction sites. The DFPS mobile app was to assist parents and guardians in finding licensed daycare providers based on specific criteria.
This was a great opportunity for both states to give citizens a chance to impact how states provide public services. Several applications were built for government agencies, providing examples of how open data could be harnessed to develop real-world, digitally based government services. TxDOT and DFPS are hopeful they can make their applications available to constituents after further testing and vetting.
The grand champion of the Hackathon challenge was revealed this spring, officially closing the contest. Both states were pleased with having participated.
"We congratulate the winning Indiana team for the Red Alert app selected by the judging committee. What a great honor for all teams to participate and develop meaningful applications that help us better serve our citizens," said Interim DIR Executive Director Todd Kimbriel. "We learned a lot from this challenge and look forward to growing our Texas Open Data portal so that state agencies and civic developers can collaborate on more solutions for the people of Texas."
A big thank you to the states of Texas and Indiana, Techpoint, the Indy Chamber, and all participants and sponsors in this endeavor.