Houston's First "Hackathon" Invites Techies to Develop Apps for the City

Houston officials say the 24-hour event will open up data to developers and allow them to create new websites and apps for Houston users.

Have you ever wondered where to go to purchase green products and services in Houston?

Or maybe you'd like to know what inspection rating that restaurant around the corner received before you eat there. Or you might be wondering how to get around town when special events close down some streets in your neighborhood.

What if there was an app for that?

Those are some of the projects Houston techies will tackle at the city's first hackathon.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says it's an effort to build technology solutions to some of Houston's problems.

"We are not known as a high-tech city, and yet we have more engineers per capita than any other city in America. We are home to human space flight. Houston has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and it's time to claim that space in a more direct way."

And since all those techies will already be under one roof for the hackathon, Parker says the city is simultaneously launching an open data initiative to put non-sensitive city data into the public domain.

"This is going to be conducted in a safe environment, but it is an opportunity for folks who might be intrigued about something to look under the hood and determine if there's an area where they really think there's a value-add that they can bring to some of our processes."

The Houston Hackathon starts on May 17 at 7pm at the Houston Technology Center and registration is required.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...