HappyGov, MoveMyMusic Take Top Prizes at Hack4Colorado Competition

Startups that want to make it easier for Denver residents to track requests for city services and for music teachers to evaluate students took home the top prizes from the annual Hack4Colorado hackathon last weekend.

HappyGov and MoveMyMusic won the Open Pitch and the Nonprofit categories, respectively. Each team took home $1,000.

Twenty teams competed at the hackathon, which was part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. The purpose of the event is to encourage software developers and others to use their skills to create applications for the public good. The apps often make use of open data collected by the government and technology made available by private companies.

Last weekend’s event drew 129 attendees, according to organizer Ann Spoor, founder and CEO of Talent Lattice. The event was at the Galvanize co-working space.

HappyGov tracks the “311” service request phone calls Denver residents make to let the city know about things like potholes that need to be fixed, trash that needs to be collected, or graffiti they would like to see removed.

HappyGov lets residents submit and monitor their own open requests and also aggregates the data to show which issues need the most response from the city. The team built a dashboard to show the number of open and overdue requests as well as a map showing where the requests were made.

Residents also are able to vote about which categories of requests should receive faster attention from the city.

While the prototype developed at the hackathon is only for Denver, the team said it could expand the service for up to 20 cities.

MoveMyMusic is a web-based app that helps students learn music notation and develop composition skills. Teachers can create assignments and quizzes, while students can either do their homework or create pieces of their own they can share with anyone by e-mail.

Another noteworthy project—given the flooding that ravaged parts of Colorado last year and poses a threat this year—was FloodForecast. The team took second in the Open category behind HappyGov and earned $500.

FloodForecast sends push notifications to users by text messages when their properties are in danger of flooding. The app uses flood data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

While many mobile phone users already get push notifications about severe weather or flooding, the warnings often are for large areas. FloodForecast said it can match general warnings with floodplain maps and projections to create warnings that are much more specific.

A full list of the Hack4Colorado projects can be found here.


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