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Steel City Codefest Shows the Potential for Open Data

Pittsburgh's second Steel City Codefest is almost here. The second annual 24-hour technology competition aims to create relevant and useful apps for the Pittsburgh area.

One of last year's winning teams created an app called ParkIt, which would allow users to pay for parking meters using their phone. The app would also remind users when their meter is about to expire and allow them to refill it.

So why don't we have this app yet? The city doesn't have the real-time data available to make it possible yet. But Pittsburgh is working on open data legislation allowing just that.

Open data has been made available in cities and counties across 39 states, according to This has given rise to numerous apps across the country.
Next time you're in New York City  The app uses your Foursquare account to let you know if a restaurant you check in to is at risk of closing due to health code violations. 

The SF Rec and Park app helps citizens and tourists of San Francisco navigate the thousands of parks, museums, gardens, dog parks and public restrooms that are maintained by the city. Users can filter, search and use the GPS-enabled map to get to their destination. In the future, this app will allow users to buy park tickets and pay for concessions using QR codes.


TextMyBus is a text message service that provides real time transit information to bus riders in Detroit. DDOT riders can text their closest intersection or address and receive a list of routes that service stops nearby. 
Check out this video showing how TextMyBus works:

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