Metro Chicago Information Center
Metro Chicago Information Center Press Release






December 16, 2011



Kathryn Auerbach - Metro Chicago Information Center




SpotHero wins Apps 4 Metro Chicago Grand Challenge, OkCopay is the Innovate Illinois Award winner and Recycle City Chicago and Chicago Recycle Helper with the Green Opportunities Award!


Mayor Emanuel's Director of Social Media Kevin Hauswirth and Governor Quinn's Chief Operating officer Andy Ross announced the winners of the Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois Grand Challenge and the Innovate Illinois Award today at Excelerate Labs.  They were joined by the Delta Institute who announced the winner of the Green Opportunities App Award (GO Award).  The Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois (A4MC) competition is facilitated by the Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC), a nonprofit research, consulting and information resource committed to increasing the quality, quantity and accessibility of information, and guided by a fundamental philosophy that better information produces better decisions.  The A4MC Competition is a collaborative open data civic applications competition which brought together software developers, nonprofits, and residents to create web and mobile applications over 300 data sets made available on the City of Chicago, Cook County, and State of Illinois data portals, and CMAP's MetroPulse.  The Apps 4 Metro Chicago IL Grand Challenge is the final, biggest, broadest and best round of the Competition. In this round apps could have any theme as long as they touched on Metro Chicago and the winners covered everything from local entertainment, transportation and leisure, to the environment, conservation and politics. The final round was decided by a Grand Challenge Judging panel comprised of experts committed to building Chicago's entrepreneurial community and encouraging innovation. Grand Challenge Judge Troy Henikoff founder and CEO of Excelerate Labs further showed his support by hosting the announcement at Excelerate Labs.


The competition, which began six months ago on June 24th, continued the historic open data efforts taking place in Chicago, the Chicago metro area, and throughout Illinois.  "I congratulate the winning app SpotHero, the other finalists, and all of the people who submitted applications during this successful contest," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "My administration is committed to providing unprecedented access to data so that our residents and tech community can create innovative apps that can improve the quality of life in Chicago as well as foster new business opportunities."


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle recognized the Competition was intended to showcase the power and possibility that can stem from government and resident collaboration and combining data and technology.  "The brilliant and innovative finalists in the Apps 4 Metro Chicago are all worthy of recognition," said President Preckwinkle. " We are entering a new age where citizens have the opportunity to create information technology that will dramatically improve how public data and services are delivered.  We hope this collaborative effort will inspire even greater participation and will strengthen the relationship between the taxpayers and the government they elect to serve their interests." 


The Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois Competition also continued to drive economic development through innovation.  "This Competition shows us the best of what can be created by Illinois' innovators and entrepreneurs when they have access to everyday data that the government collects," Governor Quinn said. "I commend both OkCopay and iFindit for using datasets made available on Data.Illinois.Gov to provide Illinois residents with valuable services that can improve their lives. Innovators like these spur economic growth throughout our state and nation and are the key to creating jobs and ensuring Illinois' continued competitiveness in the 21st century economy."


The Delta Institute of Chicago is an innovative leader in transforming the Great Lakes Region into the center of the green economy. Delta's awards, totalling $2,500, went to the best apps that promoted green activity, such as energy conservation, waste reduction, recycling, consumption of foods from local, sustainable sources and other environmentally friendly practices. Due to a tie for first place, Delta split the $2,000 top prize between Recycle City Chicago and Chicago Recycle Helper.  A $500 runner-up prize went to Light Bulb Finder.  


After six months, over 70 submissions, amazing collaborations, and inspirational stories the Apps 4 Metro Chicago Grand Challenge Winners are ....


1st SpotHero- $10,000

  • Spothero efficiently connects parking demand and parking supply.  We allow parking spot owners to earn income by renting their spot when it's unoccupied.

2nd TrailBlaze- $5,000

  • TrailBlaze Chicago records and anonymously reports your bicycle tracks, allowing you to vote for new paths simply by carrying your phone while you bike.

3rd OwtSee $3,500

  • OwtSee is an Android based and a web based application that presents information about the Chicago parks and community events in one convenient place.

4th Chicago Local Guide $2,000

  • Chicago Local Guide is an android app meant to help local people as well as tourists find interesting places and points-of-interest near them; locate specials and promotions from local businesses; get updates on cultural, social, and technology events around Chicago; and hear breaking local news.

5th Mi Parque $1,500

  • Mi Parque is a bilingual participatory placemaking web and smartphone application that helps residents of the community contribute and share their vision for the future of Little Village's new parks.

6th FasPark $500

  • FasPark helps drivers find street parking in real time.

7th allSchedules $500

  • AllSchedules gives you access to a huge collection of transit schedules, for different transport modes (bus, metro, train, tram ferry, etc.), in multiple cities around the world.

8th OkCopay $500

  • OkCopay is comparison search engine for medical care that allows users to search for the procedure they need, compare local providers, and view their actual prices.

9th iFindIt $500

  • IFindit Chicago is an android app that is designed to help low income and homeless Chicago residents connect with critical resources such as medical clinics, food pantries, shelters etc.

10th Taxi Share $500

  • Taxi Share is an application designed to increase efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and cut down on already congested streets and highways.  The app allows users to find each other and share a cab to popular destinations around the city and to the major airports.



Innovate Illinois Winners:

Grand Prize: Okay Copay- $4,000

Runner Up: iFindit Chicago- $2,000


Green Opportunities Award:

Co-Winners- Recycle City Chicago & Chicago Recycle Helper ($1000 each)

Runner Up- Light Bulb Finder- $500






The Apps for Metro Chicago Competition, facilitated by the Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC), was launched in June of 2011 in order to inspire the development of applications using 250+ data sets released by the City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The Grand Challenge Round was open to all apps that used competition data and benefited the Chicago area. Support for the competition is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and Motorola Mobility Foundation.
















For more information see:  Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois Fact Sheet

Apps 4 Metro Chicago Illinois 


Twitter: @Apps4Chicago, #A4MC


Metro Chicago Information Center

17 N. State Street, Suite 1600

Chicago, IL 60602-3294

(312) 580-2878


Metro Chicago Information Center is the city's nonprofit research source, turning data into action. We also enjoy coffee + fun facts.


MCIC is Chicago's most trusted independent research and consulting group with a tradition of partnering with organizations and individuals to create new opportunities and enrich communities. In our 20 year history, we have worked with more than 400 organizations locally and nationally - non-profit groups of all shapes and sizes - providing unbiased support and guided by a fundamental philosophy that better information produces better decisions. The breadth and depth of our experience and data acumen lead us to unique and innovative solutions in data sourcing, preparation and visualization allowing us to empower individuals and institutions with digestible and useful information, turning data into action.
Metro Chicago Information Center
Kathryn Auerbach
(312) 580-2597
Director of Development and External Communications