D.C. Historic Tours
Open Data Contest Winner for Apps for Democracy

The Washington, D.C. government had the first open data innovation contest run by its CTO, the current United States CIO under the Obama administration, Vivek Kundra.  BOALT’s submission, D.C. Historic Tours, won first prize in the agency category.  The contest was a catalyst to launch an initiative to promote Open Data Catalog.  BOALT had recognized that there were many data sets and the most under utilized where those that provided historical information on landmarks, monuments, parks and other areas of significance.

Washington, D.C. has an abundance of site-seeing attractions and is known for making them free and available to the public.  We recognized that when you try to plan a trip to the nations capitol, there are a lot of private tour operators that provide guided tours, which can be costly to tourists visiting the nations capitol.  D.C. Historic Tours, an open source platform, which was developed using Ruby on Rails, Javascript and MySQL along with APIs that included the D.C. Open Data Catalog, Google Maps, Yelp, Wikipedia and Flickr, provided an intuitive way for tourists to plan self-guided tours and share them with the community.  We felt that it was equally important to build a technology platform that could organically grow through open source initiatives along with the help of intellectual minds that could provide non-technical contributions such as historians that could build tours for visitors around certain locations or historical periods.

The application which was actually simple in regards to technical merit won first prize since it served as the most practical and innovative submission.  BOALT was excited to win first prize, help the community and donated the award money to fund a Kickstarter project by an MIT student to help map the BP oil spill in the gulf coast.

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