Editor’s note: Jason Hibbets is CityCamp NC Co-chair and NC Datapalooza organizer.

RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC Datapalooza finale had three teams competing for $5,500 worth of prize money. The final pitches for North Carolina’s open data competition happened mid-November at Red Hat Annex in downtown Raleigh, and the teams were well-prepared to compete for the prize money.

The NC Datapalooza finale (Read more at https://wraltechwire.com/3-open-data-teams-competing-for-nc-datapalooza-prizes/16216208/ ) concluded the first NC Open Pass, a single ticket that combines access to the premier open source, open government, open data, and other innovative events around the Triangle and beyond. In 2016, NC Open Pass included access to Triangle Open Data Day, National Day of Civic Hacking, CityCamp NC, a discounted option to All Things Open, and NC Datapalooza.

This year’s competition was the most robust yet with fierce competition from the kickoff at CityCamp NC to the DataPalooza Finale.

“We’ve really seen the open data ecosystem blossom in North Carolina over the past few years,” said organizer Zach Ambrose. “Local Governments from across the state have built open data programs and innovators are using that open data to build really exciting things.”

The three NC Datapalooza teams who began the competition at CityCamp NC in late September, gave their final, 7-minute presentations before a panel of five judges:

  • Andrew Black, Google Fiber
  • Ken Causey, HQ Greensboro
  • Amy Huffman, ExitEvent
  • Brandon Ives, Brasco ///
  • John Yaist, Esri

The final three teams

Teams were judged on criteria that included impact of the project, scalability, the progress and execution for creating an minimum viable product (MVP), the user experience, and the use of open data.

The three teams that competed for the final prizes were:

  • NC Food Inspector —extended open restaurant inspection and violations from Wake County and added CDC Food Borne Illness Risk Factor data to the existing violations
  • New Cartographers —used open geospatial data to enable students, parents, and school staff to identify safe routes to school to help NC school systems reduce vehicle trips
  • OverEasy —used open census data and open geospatial data to create electronic and print-ready reports

The winners

John Yaist from Esri, presented the $500 prize for the best use of Esri technology to New Cartographers. New Cartographers is a father and son team that includes 11-year-old Gavin Clark and father Will Clark, who won the CityCamp NC competition in 2015. (Read more at http://citycampnc.org/2015/06/16/winners-of-citycampnc-competition/ )

On building an application to make safer routes to school a reality, Gavin Clark told us, “I just wanted a safer way for kids to bike to school. It’s really amazing that we can find an everyday problem and then try to solve it with technology.”

The grand prize of $5,000, was also presented to New Cartographers.

“Anyone who attends CityCamp NC or NC Datapalooza is inspired to make their communities better, and you see it in the ideas and the creativity that people bring with them,” said Will Clark. “It’s exciting that when you start to tackle one problem, you see the opportunities to solve another. With this prize, Gavin and I have the opportunity to see his idea implemented, and that’s a pretty big thrill.”

Another great outcome from the kickoff at CityCamp NC hackathon and the NC Datapalooza competition came from one of the competing teams from Wake Forest, N.C.

A group of citizens from Girl Develop It RDU started collecting open data sources from the Town of Wake Forest to start a citizen-driven portal. After talking with government officials, the town agreed to host an official open data portal as part of their IT efforts. Within the next few weeks, the citizens of Wake Forest can use another local open data portal that happens to be powered by Esri technology.

NC Open Pass in 2017

In 2017, organizers are looking to add even more opportunities and events to NC Open Pass. They are already working with organizations in Greensboro and Charlotte to make the offering more robust, have a broader impact across the state of North Carolina, and elevate the idea from its MVP status—which proved to be very successful in 2016.

For more information, visit http://ncopenpass.com/.