Virginia launches open data hackathon


Virginia is putting its big data in the hands of its citizens.

The 2015 Virtual Datathon Challenge, spearheaded by Governor Terry McCauliffe in association with the Virginia Department of Technology, opens the floodgates to the state’s open data caches and invites residents to put the information towards the development of innovative software applications.

“We can’t have an innovative new Virginia economy without an innovative government,” said McAuliffe in a prepared statement. “This year, I’m challenging innovators across Virginia to use our state data in creative ways that will encourage collaboration and transparency within our government, enhance the services we provide our citizens, and build on our state’s reputation for innovative, efficient and customer-oriented government.”

Preliminary round victors will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the governor as well as a panel of entrepreneurs and investors. Finalists will see their applications pitted against the concepts of the state’s own coding experts at the first inaugural Governor’s Data Cup, to be held in September. The Governor will host an exclusive dinner in the victor’s name.


According to the competition guidelines, submissions may be across any type of “broadly available” software platform, including mobile, personal computer, web or SMS.

Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson hopes the competition, first held in 2014, will work to propel Virginia to the head of the pack in state technological service.

“This Virtual Challenge will give all Virginians the opportunity to use data and technology to improve their government and how it serves their communities.  Apps are changing lives; we are seeing a movement where longstanding challenges are being solved by technology solutions developed by a growing population of civic coders,” she said.

“We want Virginia to lead the way.”

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