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The Sunlight Foundation Names Apps for America2 Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9, 2009

Contact: Gabriela Schneider 202/742-1520 ext 236

Washington, DC –The Sunlight Foundation awarded Datamasher.org with the grand prize of $10,000 for Sunlight’s Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge. Datamasher.org is a Web application designed by Forum One Communications that lets anyone—no programming background required—choose different government data sets and mash them up to create visualizations and compare results on a state by state basis. Clay Johnson, director of Sunlight Labs, announced the winners and distributed over $25,000 in awards late yesterday at the Gov 2.0 Expo hosted by O’Reilly Media and TechWeb.

Sunlight created the Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge to solicit creative Web applications based on the information available at Data.gov, the new central depository for government data created by Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra. It was inspired by the Sunlight's commitment to use new tools to make the work of the federal government more transparent.

“By setting government data free on its new Data.gov site, the Obama administration enabled and encouraged the creation of fresh, new ideas that could help citizens get more involved in their government,” said Clay Johnson, director of Sunlight Labs. “Seizing upon this important moment, Sunlight organized this Apps for America contest to catalyze the development of useful applications and visualizations to make this information more comprehensible to more people. We also wanted to demonstrate to the government that when it makes its data available, it makes itself more accountable and creates more trust and opportunity in its actions.”

The $5,000 second prize went to GovPulse, which allows viewers to quickly search the Federal Register in a variety of ways, including by agency or date. Sunlight awarded the third place award of $2,500 to ThisWeKnow.org, which lets users type in their zip code and get back a wealth of information about their neighborhood drawn from different agencies. Additionally, QuakeSpotter.org won the bonus prize of $2,500 for best data visualization. QuakeSpotter.org, a cross-platform desktop application shows where earthquakes are happening and matches that to mentions of the earthquake on the popular social network, Twitter.

The contest was judged by Chris DiBona, open source and public sector program manager at Google; Clay Johnson, director of Sunlight Labs; Allyson Kapin, founding partner of Rad Campaign and Women Who Tech; Cyrus Krohn, director of local programming at Microsoft and Tim O'Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media. Out of 47 entries, the contest’s judges chose DataMasher, GovPulse and ThisWeKnow.org as finalists. Sunlight then held a vote on the Sunlight Labs Web site to allow the public to vote for their favorite entry and determine the grand prize winner.

Sunlight organized Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge in collaboration and with financial support from Craig Newmark, founder of Craiglist and Sunlight board director; Google; O’Reilly Media and TechWeb. Ten entries received honorable mentions at $500 each. These entries are being profiled on the Sunlight Labs blog.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to using the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including Transparency Corps, Party Time and OpenCongress.
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