Apps4halifax – An Open Data Initiative


Celebrating Halifax Open Data Initiative


A contest that started August of 2013 and ending in January of 2014 with the purpose of allowing easy access to Halifax’s Open Data. This Open Data initiative allows people of HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) to easily access data about crimes, trails, hospitals, and almost any aspect of HRM you can think of.

I have personally used some of the data and you can see the data at

The data itself is mostly displayed as maps, any developer in the contest had to create an app that used atleast one dataset from the open data website. You could however, use other data sets and where encouraged to do so. The majority of the apps, which are listed here:  used the buildings data which had over 20 different types of buildings and their locations such as police stations, fire departments, museums, and daycare centers.

The ideas

The contest started off with idea submissions in which ipad minis were randomly drawn and given away to people who submitted ideas. 276 ideas were submitted in total and some had a lot of creativity involved, one of which I liked was the idea of having access to all locations in HRM with free wifi. Each of the apps and ideas have to correspond with up to 4 different categories. They were, your city, go green, live it up, and keep’er movin’. To see all the ideas, take a look at

The categories

Initially there were four categories your application could be created for. You could have an application be submitted to any amount of categories as long as they fit the criteria. You can see the official page for categories at categories are:

  • Your City: Applications that are meant to know what is happening in your city, such as elections.
  • Go Green: Applications that encourage green habits, such as recycling or going outdoors to adventure some trails.
  • Live it up: Applications encouraging activities in HRM such as recreation, museums, and cultural events.
  • Kepp’er Movin’: Applications on getting around HRM such as the transit system, driving, and biking. The apps should also encourage healthy living styles.

In addition to the 4 categories above, a new category was introduced during the contest which was the Maps in Apps contest. This was to encourage using the Ersi mapping technology.

This technology allowed to easily integrating the open data into an application that used location based services.

The Prizes

There are many prizes to be won, and different criteria for each prize. The basic prizes are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with a prize of $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000 respectively. In addition, there is a student prize of $1,000 and peoples choice of $1,000 in each of the four categories. This means, if your application was entered into all four categories and recieved first place in each category you would walk away with $20,000.

The maps in apps challenge is awarding prizes based on start up companies, and being a student. These will be judged by Ersi selected judges and you can read more here:

Peoples Choice

Peoples choice is voted by the people. You get 1 vote per category and you choose your favorite app. You hold the power to award some lucky team of developers $1,000 in cash which they could use to better there projects with. You can view each of the 38 applications by going to

Be sure to check out all the applications before going to  to vote for your favorites. Public voting is open until January 6th, 2014 and the winners will be announced shortly after.



Get out there and try out some apps! There are many good ones. No matter your need, there is an app for you. It could be finding out when garbage day is, where crimes are, or even where the trails are located in Halifax.

I will be making another post featuring my submissions shortly.



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