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Pittsburgh enlists public's help for smart apps

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Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

Pittsburgh wants people to create high-tech ways of providing information about the city to the public.

The “Steel City Codefest” will be held Feb. 23-24 at the Google Pittsburgh offices in Larimer. Contestants can form teams and use public information such as census data to develop apps for smart phones and other electronic devices.

“We hope the apps are going to allow people to navigate government functions in better ways, whether its parking information, transportation, data, school (district) data or census data,” said Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Contestants will camp out at Google's offices for 29 hours while they develop their app. The entry fee is $10, which includes food and a T-shirt. Registration started Monday at

Judges to be named by the city will declare winners in four categories: civic engagement (meets a clear community need); technical sophistication (overcomes interesting technical challenges); user interface design (presents an effective interface that facilitates the user experience); and artistic merit.

Winners will receive a Nexus 7 tablet.

The contest won't cost the city anything, Doven said. Google is providing space for the contest and the prizes.

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