Apps4Finland, organized now for the fifth time, is a competition on open data innovation. The main organizers are The Finnish Association for Online Democracy and Forum Virium Helsinki. This year the competition is reformed into a supporting network of creativity and problem solving.
Along the years, the Apps4Finland competition has become the open data Finnish Championships; participating and succeeding in it is a matter of honor for professionals and enthusiasts alike. This year we want to encourage the contestants not just to do something with open data, but also to assess the impact on society, people’s daily lives and everyday problem solving. We also want to boost community-driven problem solving and give systematic support for participants in their efforts.
Mentoring and online networking
The contestants are being mentored online by a group of partners. One of the tools used is Github
, a collaboration platform for programming and other knowledge work. Github includes tips and tools on how to solve the competition challenges set by the partners. The participants can use these tips – or do something of their own related to open data.
Apps4Finland also supports the development of the avoindata.fi site to make it a national open data FAQ service. Those solving Helsinki’s challenges can participate the Open Helsinki Hack at Home
, a program that offers mentoring on the three challenges chosen by the city of Helsinki.
Four new main categories
The main categories of the Apps4Finland competition have reformed into following themes: Inspire, Decipher, Impact and Enable.
Inspire is the so-called freestyle category of the competition encouraging creativity. The entries of this category are hoped to inspire to use open data. Decipher is an offspring of the visualization category. The entries are expected to be analytical and to form a vision that supports problem solving. Impact is the main category of the competition, i.e. the category in which open data is turned into functional applications. Enable category guides to refining the data sets, to code sharing or to different sorts of manuals, for example.
Open Helsinki Hack at Home calls for ideas and solutions
Open Helsinki Hack at Home
that started in June has already nearly 80 participants. The program searches for ideas to solve the challenges of the City of Helsinki. It focuses especially on the openness in the city’s decision-making and feedback from the citizens to the city. Additionally, it seeks applications enabling the tourists to have better experiences while visiting Helsinki.
Tieto Plc has been a challenge partner in Open Helsinki Hack at Home program since the beginning, and now also the Ministry of Justice is involved. The Ministry of Justice is interested in feedback methods and the interaction between the citizens and the city’s decision-makers.
First competition challenges published
All the four main categories of the Apps4Finland are linked with the predefined challenges set by the partners. The first two challenges have now been published. The National Institute for Health and Welfare has given challenge about anonymizing sensitive health data. Helsinki Region Transport has launched a challenge on how to better communicate and handle exceptional traffic arrangements. In addition, all entries participating in the Open Helsinki Hack at Home program are automatically entered in the Apps4Finland.
Support materials are compiled for the challenges, and they are supplemented throughout the competition. Some of the packages include videos. All materials are freely available also after the competition. More competition challenges will be published in September 2013.
Next, Apps4Finland fever is spread among developers, students and other interested people in Tampere when the Open Knowledge Roadshow comes to town 27-28 September. Apps4Finland competition is promoted 5-6 October in WÄRK:fest and several Google Hangouts sessions will be organized in September and October. The deadline for submitting entries to the competition is 3 November. Fame and glory comes to the winners in exactly one month after the competition is closed, in the awards event in Helsinki on 3 December.