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CGI members in Los Angeles, California took part in the 2013 National Day of Civic Hacking—held June 1-2 in cities across the U.S. The annual event brings citizens, IT professionals and entrepreneurs together to help develop and build solutions to address challenges in their local communities.

Communities celebrate the event in different ways, and in Los Angeles, a “hackathon” was held. This involved a competition, dubbed Hack 4 LA, to build web and mobile applications that solve specific community needs. Forty apps were developed during the two-day event using publicly available data and code and submitted for judging.

CGI was a sponsor of the event, and our LA team contributed volunteer judges and $2,500 in prize money for the “CGI Challenge for Best Use of City of LA Data” competition category. Thirteen CGI members also helped out at the event, assisting participants in building their solutions and honing their presentation skills.

Hack 4 LA was not only a competition, but also an educational experience with presentations from various technology subject matter experts, including CGI Business Development Director Shevy Magen who spoke about the convergence of social media, big data and government to the 450 event participants.

The winner of the CGI challenge was an application called BeautifyLA, best described as a blend of the online games Farmville and Kickstarter. The goal of the application is to beautify LA by empowering players to start and fund landscaping projects. The City of LA has been in contact with the developers of BeautifyLA to potentially launch the app as part of its 2014 Recreation and Parks Department initiatives.

CGI members also helped to select the prize winner for the best overall app across all competition categories. The mobile app, Hack 4 Jobs, was awarded this honor. With Hack 4 Jobs, citizens can submit their resumes, and the app will match key words with postings for jobs in close proximity. When a match is found, a push notification alerts the person of the opportunity.

The event gave CGI volunteers the opportunity to discover new technologies and network. “It really got our creative juices flowing, and we were grateful for the opportunity to support this kind of community outreach,” said Manager Jordan Angel.