Business | TheBuzz Online tool developers up for $10K in prizes at event By Erika Engle Nov. 28, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Winners of Saturday’s HON*CELERATOR competition will walk away with $10,000 in prize money as well as the congratulations, admiration and envy of their peers instead of solely those intangibles, as have been offered at so many similar gatherings through the years. Local software developers, designers and entrepreneurs are encouraged to create a helpful, service-oriented online tool, and many have been working on their entries during the past year. "We’re not looking for the next ‘Angry Birds,’ but something interactive that people can use to find information on their community or their government," said Forest Frizzell, deputy director of the city Department of Information Technology. As examples, three apps developed for people who ride TheBus were demonstrated at CityCamp, a January event coordinated by Frizzell and HON*CELERATOR co-organizer Hawaii Open Data Inc., a nonprofit organization. Just to be clear, none of the HON*CELERATOR prize money comes from the city’s coffers, Frizzell said. All the cash has been donated by program sponsors, including heavy-hitting household names such as IBM, Google Maps and tech firms including geographic information system company Esri, open data services company Socrata, Hawaiian Telcom and the Aloha Chapter of the Association for Information and Image Management. The city’s IT department, Hawaii Open Data and other partners have been pushing the local tech community to plumb the depths of a growing ocean of government data. "We’re really encouraging people to use government data as part of their solutions," Frizzell said, though it is not a requirement for the HON*CELERATOR competition. Partly as a result of the collaborative efforts, Frizzell has seen people create "Web apps, mobile apps, and some people have done visualization tools off budget data we’ve provided," he said. A visualization tool applies data points to a three-dimensional graph to effectively illustrate a set of facts. It is the intersection among government service, startups, entrepreneurs, programmers and coders, said Ryan Ozawa, who co-founded Hawaii Open Data with Burt Lum and Jared Kuroiwa. "This approach says, ‘Let the community decide what they see as valuable and how they want to access it,’" he said. The city’s program allowing residents to "adopt" a warning siren to report on whether it is working properly is another example of an application that uses government data, via application programming interfaces, to solve a problem. Ozawa adopted a siren near his home and named it "Phil." "You volunteer to check that the siren is (working) on … the first workday of each month. If it doesn’t, you call it in." he said. "It’s a better crowd-sourced method of knowing the status of that system." People have criticized the United States for being behind the curve and also have said Hawaii is "out of date, struggling to catch up, but I think in this one particular case, the City and County of Honolulu has been pretty forward-looking," said Ozawa. Organizers anticipate about 10 new online tools will be demonstrated for a crowd of 50 to 60 at Saturday’s event, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Box Jelly at 307 Kamani St. in Kakaako. Reservations are still available at hon.celerator.org, and a promo code is available from organizers. Admission ranges from $10 for students to $25 for others. ——— Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter as @erikaengle. Previous Story HECO seeking public comment on how to meet energy demands Next Story Average home price in state tops in U.S.