U.S. EPA app challenge holds promise, but will developers deliver?
The paucity of information and data available to U.S. citizens about the economic, environmental and health risks, consequences, costs and benefits of all forms of energy is a major impediment to an energy-literate society. More data and more information accessible on the Web and mobile devices almost certainly can help address this conundrum.
Comes now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a challenge to software developers: develop applications that can put information and data at consumers’ fingertips. Dubbed, “Apps for the Environment,” the ambitious project invites the information technology community to create applications that help people make informed decisions about environmental issues that can affect their health.
EPA is engaging students, colleges and universities, and developers across the U.S. to develop and submit an app.
- Usefulness: Each submission will be rated on the strength of its potential to help individuals and/or communities make informed decisions about the environment and/or human health.
- Innovativeness: Each submission will be rated for the degree of new thinking it brings to applications for the environment or human health, and the creativity shown in designing for impact.
- Usability: Each submission will be rated on its user-friendliness and interactive capabilities. Preference will be given to applications that are easily accessible to a range of consumers, including those with disabilities.
- Submissions are due by September 16, 2011. EPA experts will select finalists and winning submissions based their usefulness, innovation, and ability to address one or more of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s seven priorities for EPA’s future, including air quality, chemical safety and climate change.
- The public will be able to vote for a “People’s Choice” winner. Winners are to be announced October 31, 2011 and receive recognition from EPA on the agency’s website and at an event in Washington, D.C. There they are to present their apps to senior EPA officials and other interested parties.
- EPA already has a growing array of apps so developers should be sure not to duplicate the existing software.