State's first-ever 'Code Michigan' a success

 DETROIT, Mich. — A crowd of civic-minded code developers gathered for Code Michigan this past weekend to design and build mobile applications for state government and have a shot at winning $20,000.

“Code Michigan is a great example of people working together to enhance government,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “The innovation cultivated at this event shows the power of what can happen when citizens are engaged in the reinvention of Michigan.”
The state’s first-ever Code Michigan began Friday and ran through Sunday, Oct. 6.Cash prizes and opportunities to pitch developed applications to real venture capitalists were awarded to the best, most viable and useful applications developed at the event.
Sam Harrell, of Ann Arbor, won first place and $20,000 for his MiMaps application, which maps Michigan’s great outdoors. Users can easily find a variety of trails as well as information on nearby lodging and restaurants.
“It (Code Michigan) was an excellent opportunity and anytime you can get your hands on open data, take it,” Harrell said.
A team from Midland High School took home a total of $7,500 for winning both the crowd favorite and civic involvement awards for their miLegi application. Computer science teacher Robert Fox and three seniors, Richard Doktycz, Thor Russell and Aaron Green, designed the application which informs Michigan residents about their state Legislature and allows for bill tracking and the use of social media to collaborate about introduced legislation.
Michael Evans, Ben Fraser and Dennis Fiore, all of Detroit, won $1,000 for best idea for their LoveTax application which makes it easy to see and pay taxes owed on any property with a credit card and provides the ability to build a community campaign to fund the tax payment of a historic property to stop foreclosure.
“This weekend some of the best and brightest code developers from around the state, nation and world put their skills to work for the public good,” said John Nixon, director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. “Code Michigan is a great example of how we’re thinking outside the box on ways to reinvent Michigan.”
Civic coding is the act of creating works of software for the purpose of promoting government transparency, citizen engagement, government efficiency, public policy, and monitoring emerging issues and economic development.
“It took a crew of 42 volunteers, more than 20 sponsors and eager coders to make the state’s first-ever Code Michigan a success,” said David Behen, CIO for the State of Michigan. “I think this shows the growth in our technology sector and I want to thank Detroit Labs and our other great partners for making this event happen.”
The state will now begin the work to implement the applications and make them available for public use in the near future.
The state worked with several private and public partners to make Code Michigan happen, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Detroit Labs, Commercial Progression, Bedrock, Bizdom, Socrata, Grand Circus, Management Information Systems Association, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, Microsoft, GitHub, Compuware, Opportunity Detroit/Quicken Loans, Apigee Corporation, Deloitte, TechSmith, Atomic Objects, Gravity Works Design, Detroit Venture Partners, Dewpoint, Michigan Legislative Consultants, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Adobe, Twillo, Symantec and Uber.


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