Government Technology Magazine

Below is an excerpt from the July 2010 issue of Government Technology magazine article titled “Do Apps for Democracy and Other Contests Create Sustainable Applications?”

Perhaps no winning app received more exposure than D.C. Historic Tours. Developed by BOALT Interactive, it allows users to create custom tours and won an Apps for Democracy award. In 2009, the D.C. Historic Tours site caught the eyes of federal officials because a demonstration route on the site happened to match up with President Barack Obama’s inaugural route.

“When the White House saw this really cool map that had all these directions, they linked to us.” said Adam Boalt, the company’s founder.

Are You Safe iPhone App

The site traffic has been steady ever since, he said, and sometimes the city reaches out to him for projects. Boalt even collaborated with fellow winner Sobel to create Are You Safe, an iPhone app that determines your safety level in a given area in Washington, D.C., using local crime data. Although D.C. Historic Tours isn’t an official city app, Boalt maintains that he didn’t build the free site for the prize money or the government.

“It was a practical problem I was having,” he said. “I wanted to go around D.C., but I didn’t want to ride a Segway or a double-decker bus to do it. But there was nothing available to the general public. I wan’t doing it for the city; I thought it would help people in my situation.”


Russell Nichols
Government Technology Magazine

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