Win­ning apps make life in Al­berta eas­ier

Tech in­no­va­tors from across Canada and U. S. com­peted for prize money

Calgary Herald - - CITY - KEL­TYN MAR­SHALL

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.

THE WIN­NERS:

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.

BRADY MCDON­ALD/ ED­MON­TON JOUR­NAL

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.

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