Winning apps make life in Alberta easier
Tech innovators from across Canada and U. S. competed for prize money
Apps aimed at helping students and outdoors enthusiasts were among Apps for Alberta contest winners announced Wednesday.
Earlier this year, the Government of Alberta, in partnership with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, called on creative minds from Canada and the United States to develop apps that use Alberta’s open data. The goal is to help increase government transparency.
“It’s vital that we throw open the doors of our information vault to the creativity that’s out there,” said Deron Bilous, minister of Service Alberta. “Competitions like Apps for Alberta ... help people use government information in innovative ways to make day- to- day life easier.”
Some of the apps are aimed at helping Albertans understand the government while others help make the most of our natural resources, Bilous said.
Both the Best Overall App and the Best Made in Alberta App awards went to the team from Darkhorse Analytics, of Edmonton, and their app called Make the Grade.
“The idea for the app was to help people choose what school they want to attend and see how their school is performing in comparison to other areas,” said Devon Sigurdson, 22, of Darkhorse Analytics.
“We kind of targeted ( the app) towards mainly parents so that they have the opportunity to quickly see and intuitively compare the different schools around Alberta, and see how they perform academically,” said Ugene Chen, 32.
The team from Darkhorse Analytics spent roughly two months on the project and have yet to decide what they’re going to do with their $ 60,000 prize money.
“We will have to talk that out. We will probably vote on it and maybe go out for dinner — a really nice dinner,” said Dan Haight, president of Darkhorse Analytics.
The free apps have now been released on the newly expanded open. alberta. ca portal, which is designed to provide a convenient and comprehensive location for accessing government data and information.
Best Overall App/ Best Made in Alberta App: Make the Grade, designed by Darkhorse Analytics of Edmonton, allows Albertans to visually explore, filter and compare
diploma exam results across the province.
Peoples Choice Award: Risco, designed by University of Calgary students ( Gabriela Jurca, Megha Chopra, Govind Parmar, Omar Addam), helps outdoor enthusiasts access maps and information on outdoor hazards such as known grizzly bear zones, snake zones and active wildfires.
Best Student App Award: Live Alberta, designed by MacEwan University student Karo Castro-Wunsch, combines text and visuals to convey a wealth of easy- to- arrange information on cities across Alberta.
Three teams that won awards in the Apps for Alberta contest pose with Minister of Service Alberta Deron Bilous, ( left, leaning on the TV) in Edmonton on Wednesday.