Apps. We used to call them computer programs back when computers were just for for geeks. Now they’re ubiquitous. Apple coined the phrase “there’s an app for that” and guess what, there is an app for virtually anything you can think of.
There’s even Metro apps – fifteen of them (not that we’re counting) plus Metro’s very own iPhone app. But where’s that killer transit app? The app that takes all the free data Metro provides and weaves it into a a user experience that would make Steve Jobs’ jaw drop? Where’s the app the pulls people from their cars and onto Metro because it’s just that cool?
Somewhere there’s a developer who has that killer Metro app idea and just needs an excuse to go for it – this is where Metro’s Developer Challenge comes in. Beginning April 1st, developers can submit apps that make use of Metro’s transit data (and yes, that includes the fresh new real-time bus arrival data) for the chance to win up to $2,000. That’s $2,000 plus the fact that you’ll be making an app that will improve the transit experience for potentially millions of L.A. County residents.
Metro will be holding a Q&A/kick-off event for interested developers next Thursday from 6 to 7:30pm at Metro Headquarters. It’s a chance for hopeful developers to come meet with the data providers and get the skinny on contest. For those who can’t make it in person, the event will also be live-streaming on uStream. College students: here’s a link to printable flyer to spread the word on campus.
More details on the contest after the jump.
Metro’s reach is massive, and it’s unlikely one transit app can do it all (although you’re welcome to try). With that in mind the Developer Challenge welcomes submissions into the following categories, and each comes with its own prize:
- Mobile App
An application functional on a mobile device utilizing Metro transit. Developers are encouraged to incorporate recreational themes such as nightlife, food & dining, landmarks, etc., and can include GIS data.
- Mobile App – College
An application functional on a mobile device utilizing Metro transit data and information from one or more college.
- Web Mashup
A website or webpage utilizing Metro transit and/or GIS data displaying data in a visual manner: charts, graphs and interactives. Other data sets, including public data, collected data, etc., can also be incorporated.
- Web Mashup – Mapping
A website or webpage utilizing Metro transit data and/or GIS data displaying a map.
- Next Bus Mobile App
An application functional on a mobile device utilizing bus arrival data from NextBus; Metro transit data or other data sets can be incorporated as well.
Submissions will be judged by members of Metro’s technology and design staff who will be looking for the apps that make the best use of Metro’s transit data along with originality, design and usefulness.
Developers will be able to play with a number of data types including real-time arrival data from NextBus, schedule data in the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format, Metro’s Trip Planner API, GIS mapping data and Bikeways data.
A few more important notes:
- Individuals or teams may enter, but only one prize will be awarded to teams.
- Submitted apps must remain free during the Developer Challenge and for a year after the winners are announced.
- Contestants retain the rights to their apps – Metro doesn’t own them.
- The deadline for submission is May 20, 2011.