Loqi.me Wins Most Useful App and Best in Show at CivicApps Award Ceremony

On Thursday, 29 October 2010 Portland CivicApps announced the winners of Round 2 of Apps for Greater Portland competition. Loqi.me, an entry created originally for the International GWOB hackathon by Aaron Parecki and I won Most Useful App and Best in Show.

We were both surprised and excited to meet Mayor Sam Adams and learn about the other award-winning applications (all of which are listed below). We were also surprised to win some prize money, which we will use to provide food and prizes for future hackathons in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, as well as pay for server costs incurred by Geoloqi.com.

About the App

Cross-platform Group Messaging and Location Beaconing for Disaster Relief

This application is a resource for citizens, medical teams and governments before, during and after disasters.

Loqi.me allows mobile users to send an emergency GPS beacon to a real-time map. Crises responders can view all of the help requests on the webpage, along with hospitals and fire stations, real-time 911 calls related to natural disasters.

CivicApps Location Beacon Map

Ground teams can easily use Loqi.me on their mobile phones to send notices of supplies and terrain reports in real time. Remote helpers can easily see the whole picture on the website’s real-time map, handle help and information requests, and send messages to the network.

Loqi.me supports subscription to group messages via SMS, AIM, Jabber and Twitter. No application installation is required. Location beacons can be sent simply by going to http://loqi.me on a mobile phone.

CivicApps Award Winners!

Congratulations to the award winners and runners-up for this second round of app submissions to CivicApps! Here’s a list of the official winners of the second round of the CivicApps For Greater Portland Competition:

Most Useful App ($1000 prize award):

— Amber Case & Aaron Parecki for Cross-platform Group Messaging and Location Beaconing for Disaster Relief judged most useful and utility to citizens overall.

— Runners Up: Justin Palmer, Matt Blair, Joseph Mosser, Bill Wilson, Melelani Sax-Barnett

Most Appealing App ($1000 prize award):

— Matt Blair for PDX Trees judged most appealing in terms of design and usability.

— Runners Up: Amber Case & Aaron Parecki, Justin Palmer, Max Ogden, Joseph Mosser, Bill Wilson

Most Original App ($1000 prize award):

— Melelani Sax-Barnett for Portland Bike to Transit Map judged best originality, uniqueness and inventive nature.

— Runners Up: Amber Case & Aaron Parecki, Atul Mathur, Matt Blair, Max Ogden, Bill Wilson

Best Use of Data App ($1000 prize award):

— Max Ogden for CivicApps Data Previewer judged best overall utilization of the datasets.

— Runners Up: Amber Case & Aaron Parecki, Justin Palmer, Bill Wilson, Melelani Sax-Barnett, Dan Wilson

Civic Choice Award ($1000 prize award):

— Joseph Mosser for Pdxtrian for receiving the most public votes.

Best of Show Award ($3000 prize award):

— Amber Case & Aaron Parecki for Group Messaging and Location Beaconing for Disaster Relief judged top overall app.

Participate in CivicApps!

You can learn more about CivicApps at CivicApps.org.

Download the Source Code for Loqi.me

Loqi.me is open source and free to use for anyone who wants to build on it. You can get the sourcecode for Loqi.me here on Github.

Loqi.me Wins Grand Prize in GWOBorg International Open Source Hackathon

On 10.10.10, Aaron Parecki and I participated in an international hackathon put on by Geeks Without Bounds. We finished at 4:30Am, just in time to submit the app and explain it over the hackathon IRC channel.

Results

A few hours later, we learned that we won one of the grand prizes of $1010! Because we listed NedSpace as a helper, they were also awarded a matching $1010.  All of the prize money will be used to put on more open gov and open source Hackathons in the Portland community! If you have an idea for a hackathon, please let us know.

What is Loqi.me?

Loqi.me  allows mobile users to send an emergency GPS beacon to a real-time map. Crisis responders can view all of the help requests on the webpage, along with hospitals and fire stations, real-time 911 calls related to natural disasters.

Ground teams can easily use Loqi.me on their mobile phones to send notices of supplies and terrain reports in real time. Remote helpers can easily see the whole picture on the website’s real-time map, handle help and information requests, and send messages to the network.

Loqi.me supports subscription to group messages via SMS, AIM, Jabber and Twitter. No application installation is required. Location beacons can be sent simply by going to http://loqi.me on any GPS-enabled mobile phone.

Other Hackathon Winners

Sahana Eden + Tropo integration

Fran Boon and Praneeth Bodduluri’s innovation application that also used the Tropo API won one of the $1010 top prizes.  The features implemented allow Sahana to extend its presence over IM/Twitter/SMS – Simple queries can be performed on a Sahana instance using these.  Their app included examples that enable users to send queries via IM/Twitter or SMS to check Hospital Status or search for People or Organizations.  This was fantastic integration of two technologies.

Fran and Praneeth affiliated their project with Sahana Foundation, one of the key open-source crisis management platforms that GWOBorg worked with in development of the hackathon event.

GMap a Crisis

Psytek from AlphaOne Labs in NYC (one of the hacker spaces we visited on the tour) won one of the Apple iPad prizes for developing a simple yet powerful application that uses Tropo to monitor Twitter for certain hashtags: #crisis, and takes the geo-location information and displays it on a Google Map.

Play This or People Die!

The Jigsaw team took home the third $1010 prize (and they get the matching prize for their space, Jigsaw Renaissance in Seattle, Washington). They built a simple playsourcing application called Play This or People Die! that usesTropo SMS and connects to Sahana and allows gamers to “play” by helping to translate, categorize or geolocate requests for help.

Thanks to Tropo and Geeks without Bounds!

Thanks again to Tropo for sponsoring the event and providing great support during the programming sessions. Thanks to Geeks without Bounds for supplying the ideas and framework for an excellent hackathon.

Tropo – A powerful, yet simple API that adds Voice, SMS, Twitter, and IM support to the programming languages you already know.  Tropo will award prizes to those registered apps that use the Tropo API.

Geeks without Bounds -An international coalition of passionate problem solvers working together to assist people whose survival is threatened by lack of access to technology or communications due to violence, neglect, or catastrophe.

Loqi.me and CivicApps!

We recently submitted Loqi.me to the CivicApps competition for Greater Portland. This city-run initiative is making great headway in providing open data to developers and people with great ideas. If you’re in the area, be sure to come to the CivicApps awards ceremony on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at Webtrends!

Haven’t heard of CivicApps? You should really check it out.

Location-based Apps with Amber Case and Aaron Parecki

Geoloqi GPS Logs - Portland, ORAaron Parecki and I have been working with a number of local and remote collaborators on an open source location sharing platform called Geoloqi. While we’ve spoken at a lot of conferences about it, most of them have been closed or specific events such as WhereCamp, eComm, or Intel.

If you’re interested in learning what Geoloqi is, we’d love to see you at Kells on November 10, 2010. If you’d like to come along, simply click on the registration button below. We’ll be there to answer any questions, and you’re free to ask questions on this post. If you’d like to sign up to beta test Geoloqi, or use the app when it is ready, you can do so at Geoloqi.com. See you there!

Location-based Apps with Amber Case and Aaron Parecki

Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010 – 5:30-8:30pm

Registration required: http://sao.site-ym.com/events/event_details.asp?id=118229

1849 Salmon St
Portland, OR United States

Description

Amber Case and her partner Aaron Parecki are the founders of Geoloqi. Geoloqi is a private, real-time mobile and web platform for secure location data, with features such as Geonotes, proximal notification, and sharing real-time GPS maps with friends. Geoloqi has been covered by CNN, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Willamette Week and Oregon Business. It has been presented at eComm, Open Source Bridge, Show and Tell PDX and Research Club under the alias Non-Visual Augmented Reality with SMS and GPS.

What will you learn:

  • Why developers of apps should look at what users want to do now, as well as what users want to do in their future.
  • Why social apps should try to mirror real–world relationships
  • Why sharing should be about who you share with as well as how long you want the information to be available.
  • Why developers should think about making apps “ambient” and require less user interaction.

You Should Follow @Geoloqi on Twitter!

An Open Response to the Portland Development Commission State of the Software Market

PDC recently  released the next instantiation of their State of the Software Market survey. It’s designed to dive deeper into their conversation with the software community.

For purposes of transparency, I thought it might be interesting to post my responses as an open response to the survey. Below are all of the questions and my responses. I don’t have the right ones – no one does. However, I hope that my responses might start a discussion that leads to something that might be considered a good response. It’s all very much a work in progress.

Portland Development Software Survey

We’ve all had different experiences in this community. My favorite experiences have been at WhereCamp, Open Source Bridge and CubeSpace. Filling out this survey is a chance to create more of those experiences and get support for them. If this sounds good to you, respond to the PDC software survey.

This is PDC’s second interview in the process of identifying the tools needed to develop a thriving software cluster in the Portland region.

Their first survey in April had 280 respondents, and this survey seeks to validate some of the ideas that were shared. Software is one of only four clusters that the Portland Development Commission is focusing on, so our input on this topic will have a large impact on the PDC’s work.

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Survey Questions and Responses

Portland’s many User Groups run independently. Managing logistics, promotions and funding takes a significant amount of time for their volunteer leadership. An idea that came from our first survey is to compile an inventory of available meeting spaces, a “best practices” document and identify interested sponsors.

Do you think this idea would help align the software cluster and allow it to be more successful?

Yes – this is a great idea!

Why do you think this idea has merit?

Because a lot of us, whether we work full-time or not, need a place where we can all meet up. When we went to CubeSpace, it was like coming home. No matter what happened during the day, we knew we could find at least a few events going on at night. The space does not need to be open during the day – the majority of events that happened at CubeSpace were events happening between 5-9Pm.

It was open and welcoming, and a place to meet friends and collaborators, old or new. In a place where a lot of people work by themselves, and a lot of people do not work at offices during the day, regular community interaction becomes very important.

Another idea we heard was the possibility of identifying flexible meet-up spaces for folks to gather and share ideas. This could augment existing co-working spaces in the city and provide a place for small groups to gather and explore new ideas together.

Do you think this concept of identifying flexible meet-up spaces would be a good idea to support our software community?

Yes

Why do you feel that this concept of flexible meet-up spaces is a good idea?

For the same reasons I stated before. There needs to be a space for people to meet, where meetings can be scheduled. A watering hole, so to speak, for ideas, collaboration and exchange.

Having a sponsored meeting spot open from 5-9Pm would not compete with any of the other daytime coworking spaces, as it would be an event space.

Another idea that came to the surface was to encourage the integration of these User Groups into the other parts of our community such as non-software corporations, government and schools. (example: a school technology lab could tap the expertise of a User Group for best practices in changing operating systems, etc.)Do you think such integration efforts would strengthen our software community?

Great idea!

Why do you think this type of integration is a good idea?

It’s an interesting idea, although I’m not clear on the details enough to have an opinion on this right now.

By the way, are you personally involved with a User Group?

Yes

What User Groups are you a part of?

I assume you are using the phrase ‘User Groups’ as a way of describing groups of people with interests related to certain types of technology, methods, or ideas.

In that case, these are the groups I’m involved in (or have been in the past).

  • Geoloqi User Group (co-founder)
  • Portland Data Viz Meetup (founder)
  • CyborgCamp (founder)
  • WhereCamp (volunteer, speaker)
  • Refresh Portland (attendee)
  • Wiki Wednesday (attendee)
  • NTEN Nonprofit Technology Meetup (attendee)
  • Webvisions (board member)
  • Web Analytics Wednesday (attendee)
  • Demolicious (attendee)
  • CHIFOO (member)
  • IxDA (steering committee)

I used to go to 2-3 group meetings a night, until CubeSpace closed.

How valuable are you finding this involvement in User Groups?

Very valuable

Why have you found User Groups valuable?

Knowledge is brought to life by people, and people are often difficult to find. User groups allow information to pollinate and multiply. It drastically speeds up the ability for one to get things done. When one tries something alone, it’s often easy to get stuck. When one is surrounded by users who are familiar with a system, help is never far away.

Do you have any other ideas about User Groups before we ask your opinion about the next topic of “Regional Resourcing”?

No.

A number of people provided feedback about how we could take the resources we already have and become smarter about understanding and making use of them. For example, many wished they had a place to search for every local software company’s products or services. Some also wished they had a database of every gifted programmer in the region. For the purposes of the survey, we’ll call this “Regional Resourcing”.

In terms of its value, how would you rate this idea of a “Regional Resourcing” directory?

Very valuable

Why would such a “Regional Resourcing” directory be valuable?

It’s been attempted before, especially with sites like PRTLND.

An easy to use directory with community tagging capabilities would be useful, especially if it imported Twitter data and allowed one or others to fill into profile information, recommendations, etc., wiki-style.

Linkedin does this, but it’s not locally oriented.

In our last online conversation, 75% of those who did not have a mentoring relationship said that they would like to have one.

How valuable would it be to have a system that matches mentors with mentees to help with business issues? (for example: formation, planning, development, etc.)

Not very valuable

Why wouldn’t “mentorship matching” be valuable?

Well, if you think about it – having a community in place, with a place to have events, takes care of the mentorship idea. A community naturally has mentors and newbies. Those who contribute to a community get community support in the form of funding, reviews, and collaboration. Having a structured and stringent program might not be as effective as simply allowing it to happen and providing a space for it.

In our discussions, we have heard several concerns about the challenges associated with financing software companies. Depending on their experience, some have focused on a need for more VCs in Portland, others on the need for more Mezzanine funding sources and still others on unmet needs in Early Stage funding.

How important do you feel it is for our community to better address the financial needs of its software companies?

Very important

Why do you feel that we should better address the financial needs of software companies?

I don’t know if it’s simply the idea of bringing VC’s into Portland that would address the financial needs of software companies.

I think the key is to provide actual learning experiences or good managers for companies. A lot of great developers out there are very good at coding, but are quite inept at design or bringing products to market. The idea of the product lifecycle, or the need to market a product, is sometimes misunderstood.

Learning about business – and this means business planning, legal issues, taxes, business plans, and simplicity, are all things that are needed. VC’s that provide this would be nice, but startups also need to understand how to run startups on little to know funding at all. If they can turn a profit without having to go to VC’s, it’s all the more impressive.

Have you been a part of an effort to raise money for a company in the Portland region?

Yes

I raised money for GreenIt!, a renewable energy company I started with two colleages of mine during college. We raised two rounds of seed funding.

In your experience, what is the most difficult financing stage for a Portland-based software company?

Angel funding (less than $500k)

Please describe the challenges you faced in obtaining Angel Funding:

The amount of time it takes to obtain funding

Some have mentioned that we need to do a better job connecting start-up companies with “seed funders” (very early stage investors under $500k) in order to decrease the time that start-ups devote to raising necessary capital.

Do you feel that we need to develop better ways to connect start-ups with seed funders?

Yes

What are some ways the we might be able to build these networks of funding relationships?

  • Building a matching database
  • Streamlining the review process
  • Having “speed dating” events

Before early-stage entrepreneurs can go to market, they must literally “prove the concepts” of their innovations. The work may entail developing a research technology further, perhaps to a working prototype, and/or studying markets to see if the business concept will fly.Developing a local “Proof of Concept Center” has been suggested as a way to provide this support through seed funding and expert assistance to help entrepreneurs prepare for the strongest market entry possible.

How valuable do you feel a Proof of Concept Center would be in the region?

Not very valuable

Why do you feel that a “Proof of Concept Center” might not be a good idea?

While a center like this could provide User testing, QA testing and focus groups that would not be available to an otherwise unconnected entrepreneur, this is something that naturally emerges from a community. Providing the place for community should still be the highest priority. A startup can have a meeting within that space that can act as a ‘Proof of Concept Center’.

Do you have any skills or resources that you would like to volunteer to help in the development of a community “Proof of Concept Center”?

Yes

Helping entrepreneurs to simplify their ideas and get their products to market.

Do you have any other ideas about how we can improve our investment climate for the software industry?

Have a clear guide to regulations, legalities, and process.

Starting a company is difficult. I had a lot of help starting a C corp because my team was part of a college. There was no business program, so the college president and his business development team helped us in securing funding, connecting us with attorneys and conferences. Without them, no progress could have been made.

Also, a focus on success stories here in Portland is essential. Patterns of development and best practices can be easily found if one interviews successful entrepreneurs here. Take, for example, Andy Baio, developer of Yahoo!’s Upcoming.org. There are many more of these stories. If a community has good role models and examples, they’ll be more likely to succeed.

Would you be interested in receiving the results of this survey and being invited to attend a discussion of the issues impacting our regions’ software industry?

Yes, definitely

Please let us know your contact information.

First name: Amber
Last name: Case
E-mail: caseorganic at gmail dot com

How would you describe the regional footprint of the company which provides your primary source of employment?

6-25 Employees

In addition to this company, are you involved with a side-project or projects?

Yes – I have several side projects

What is keeping you from building a side project into a full-time endeavor?

  • Technology development
  • More customers
  • Investment capital
  • Business strategy development
  • Not interested in making this more than a side project

Other: It’s a tremendous liability to move to developing a company full time. Often it’s not the most intelligent choice, especially in a place like Portland. It’s far safer to keep it as a side-project while remaining fully employed. There aren’t a ton of customers in Portland either. One has to be able to connect nationally and internationally in order to make a blip outside of the Portland sphere. That’s not especially easy to do, no matter where one is.

Does the company that provides your primary source of employment develop software or provide services (legal, accounting, recruiting, etc.) to the software industry?

  • Developing software
  • Providing services

(Note: There was no way to choose both. Vertigo provides both types of services).

What type of services are you providing for the software industry?

  • User Interface/Artistic Design

What position do you hold in the company?

  • Technical/developer

(Note: They didn’t provide designer).

What was your company’s revenue last year? (if you have multiple side projects, please select your primary one)

I’d rather not say.

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Conclusions

There’s still a lot to be done, and I need your help. Do you like the idea of a 5-9 meeting space as well? Let me know on Twitter, or in the comments below.

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About

Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist and a happy member of the Portland Tech Community. She is happiest when surrounded by wonderful people sharing ideas.

WhereCamp PDX | September 25th, 2010 | An Unconference on all things Geographical

WhereCamp Portland 2010

WhereCampPDX is a free unconference focusing on all things geographical. This informal meeting of minds welcomes all geo-locative enthusiasts, anyone who asks “where am I” or feels the need to “know their place”.

WhereCamp is my #1 favorite Portland conference besides Open Source Bridge. In 2008, it was where I came up with an idea that would later become Geoloqi. Little did I know that Aaron Parecki was working on the exact same thing at the exact same time.

WhereCamp Portland Reid Beels

The great thing about WhereCamp is that is brings together a bunch of really intelligent people interested in GPS and geolocation. There’s so much data to absorb that the conference feels like an adrenaline rush to the brain.

What’s an Unconference?

An unconference is a conference planned by the participants, we all convene together, plan sessions, and have break-outs into sessions. This gives everybody an opportunity to bring to the table the things that interest them the most and lets us talk about new topics that are still new and exploratory. Part of what is important to hearing new voices and getting new ideas is lowering barriers to participation – this event is free and it is driven by the participants.

Schedule:

  • Friday, September 24th: Evening kickoff party, location TBA
  • Saturday, September 25th: Unconference from 10AM-6PM at Metro, followed by dinner and hacking, location TBA.
  • Sunday, September 26th: Games and other fun activities, around downtown/Old Town, details TBA.

Where:

Metro
600 NE Grand
Portland, OR 97232
(Map)

RSVP on Eventbrite

Wherecamp is free, but we need to know that you’re planning to come! Please sign up on Eventbrite and put it on your calendar. This year’s event is going to be excellent.

WhereCamp Portland Sessions

Session Ideas?

We’re welcoming all session ideas. The best place to put them is on the WhereCamp wiki!

Sound Good?

Hope to see you there! If you’re interested in WhereCamp, you might want to also check out CyborgCamp, which will happen only a few weeks later on October 2nd at Webtrends.

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About

Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.