More than a billion people worldwide now own a smart phone, leading to a proliferation of web tools that can connect citizens to civic services.
That is the motivation behind the Google Places API Developer Challenge, which encourages developers to create applications that address critical needs facing their communities. This year, 87 developers from 27 different countries submitted apps that address issues ranging from homelessness to urban agriculture.
Three apps were declared winners earlier this year, while three were chosen as runners-up and another earned people’s choice status. The three winning developers will showcase their apps in May at Google I/O, the company’s annual conference for developers in San Francisco.
Below, we list the winning apps and what they do:
Enchentes.org, by Brazilian developer Jonathan Kraemer, allows users to determine safe routes to shelter or other resources when flooding occurs. Future uses may include the option to register issues like car accidents or other road blockages.
Caregivers to the homeless can use the Homeless REACH app to find real-time information on available resources, such as shelters, within a certain radius.
Based in Toronto, TTC Pass gives visitors information on finding and purchasing different kinds of transit fares.
GeoLanka, which won the people’s choice award, brings together the leading property sales and rental websites in Sri Lanka to one location where the general public can search for properties. Currently Sri Lanka doesn’t provide an aggregated real estate service.
One of the runners-up, Save the Rain, allows users to determine how much rain can be collected from their rooftop over a period of a year.
GrowShare, another runner-up, maps vacant lots around Philadelphia and lets users share ideas on how to put all that empty land to use.