World Bank offers awards to develop data apps, mash-ups

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The World Bank is throwing open the doors to thousands of its global development indicators and inviting the public to use the data in mash-ups, smart phone applications, and other tech tools that can help support clean energy and fight poverty.

To encourage software developers, the bank is holding an “Apps for Development” contest with $45,000 in prizes and financial support. Entries are due by Jan. 10 and must include data from at least one of the bank’s datasets and relate to one of the bank’s eight key development goals that range from environmental sustainability to reducing childhood mortality.

“Our collection of global data on the economy, human development and the environment is a remarkable resource," said Shaida Badiee, director of the bank’s development research data group. "The apps created in this competition will allow policy makers, researchers, and civil society to track the impact of policies, develop new solutions, and measure improvements more accurately.” The bank doubled to 4,000 the number of development indicators publicly available through its Application Programming Interface (API), including the geo-coding of the location of over 1,000 bank projects. The trove of publicly available data covers a broad swath from environmental emissions to gender statistics, business performance, and literacy rates.

Judges for the World Bank contest include Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, Inc., Kannan Pashupathy, engineering director at Google Inc., and Ory Okolloh, co-founder of Ushahidi.

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