This past Saturday, Microsoft’s Technology and Civic Engagement Fellow Andrew Hernandez led a coalition of student groups to launch Spartan Hacks, a 100-person hackathon which focused primarily on civic technology, at San José State University. Civic Technology is a new, rapidly expanding field which uses existing data sources to improve government functionality, citizen communication, or improving the public good.
Spartan Hacks brought together engineers, business majors, and art students to create diverse and dynamic teams. The day kicked off with a word from Sid Espinosa, Director of Civic Engagement and Philanthropy at Microsoft followed by San José’s Chief Innovation Officer, Shireen Santosham, who discussed the city’s new Civic Innovation Vision. The five finalists addressed some of San José’s key civic issues: housing, traffic, and public works projects.
The winning team was Feed the Meter, an app that aims to streamline and simplify the parking meter infrastructure. The app uses pay by phone systems to pay your meter automatically. Some features include notifications for when your meter is about to expire, automatic renewal through the app, and information about parking restrictions, hourly rates and more–making parking troubles a thing of the past.
Congratulations to all who participated in this wonderful event!