San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders launches aps contest for city services


Mayor Jerry Sanders kicked off the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge, in which software developers will use city and partner data to create applications that enhance public services and improve quality of life for San Diegans. Winners of the competition will split a total of $50,000 in prize money donated by challenge sponsors AT&T, San Diego Gas & Electric, CONNECT and CleanTech San Diego. The contest is open to amateur, professional and student developers, who will use data provided by the city and several partners to develop the apps. Members of the public can also get involved by sharing their ideas for apps on the challenge website and by judging entries in the popular choice categories.

“The AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge is a fun way to engage our community in an effort that will put useful information at people’s fingertips,” Sanders said. “It fits right in with San Diego’s entrepreneurial, innovative spirit, and we know our tech-savvy population will make it a huge success.”

Challenge participants will have access to data from the city of San Diego, SDG&E, Metropolitan Transit System, SanGIS and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Apps for the challenge must use at least one data set from the city and partner sources but may also incorporate data from other sources. Categories for the prizes include:

  • · AT&T Best Overall App – Grand Prize: $15,000
  • · Best Overall App – Second Prize: $5,000
  • · Best Overall App – Honorable Mention (3 awarded): $2,000
  • · SDG&E Best Energy App: $5,000
  • · City of San Diego Government Innovation App - $5,000
  • · Popular Choice Award - Grand Prize: $10,000
  • · Popular Choice Award – Second Prize: $2,500
  • · Best Student-Created App (Undergraduate): $2,000
  • · Best Student-Created App (High School): $2,000
  • · Large Organization (50 or more) Recognition Award:Recognition
  • · City Employee and Partner Talent Award: Recognition

“Technology has changed the way we live and work, bringing ease and convenience into the consumer world – from finding a great restaurant to booking travel or shopping from home,” said AT&T Vice President Mark Leslie. “Through this challenge, AT&T will help extend that convenience into all areas of local life, making it easier for San Diegans to enjoy our city to the fullest.”
Winners in the competition will be selected by a panel of judges recruited from the technology and venture capital industries as well as partner institutions. The public will select the two “Popular Choice” winners.

The various awards in the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge will be judged on several criteria, including: Quality of the idea, which includes the app concept’s creativity and originality; implementation of the idea, or how well the user experience and design was executed; and the app’s potential impact on city services and quality of life for San Diego residents, businesses and visitors.

The SDG&E Best Energy App award will also consider the apps’potential impact on energy conservation as well as positive impact on use of electric vehicles and clean energy-generation technologies.

The City of San Diego Government Innovation App award recognizes the app with the greatest impact on public engagement with city government, citizen participation and access to city services, as well as impact on city government’s ability to provide better services and coordinate with other local, state and federal agencies to serve citizens.

SDG&E President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Niggli said he hopes the apps developed in the competition will help customers better understand and manage their home energy use, as well as ease the adoption of clean energy technologies.

“San Diegans have already shown they have a strong energy-conservation mindset, and we envision apps that will provide information and tools to make it easier to use energy efficiently,” Niggli said. “We’re eager to see the creative consumer uses that might come of making energy data broadly available.”

The submission period for the apps challenge starts today, with a deadline for submissions on April 11. The public voting and judging will take place between April 25 and end May 23, with winners announced in mid-June.

“This challenge shows San Diego’s leaders are committed continuing to foster a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” said CONNECT Board Chair Catherine Mackey. “This competition could launch a successful career or startup in San Diego. We’re excited to be part of it.”

For more information on the AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge, visit

  1. Follow @SDAPPS on Twitter for competition updates.