Central New York , Government , Technology

Syracuse Announces Winners of Contest to Improve Infrastructure

Mayor Miner announcing the winners of Syracuse University iSchool’s first Civic Data Hackathon on October 27, 2016. © 2016 Office of the Mayor Syracuse, NY. Permission to use image granted by Alexander Marion, Office of the Mayor Press Secretary, 10/27/16.

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BY Jessica Gorman Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — On Thursday, Mayor Stephanie Miner announced the winners of Syracuse University’s first annual Civic Data Hackathon. A contest open to Central New York residents to design technologies and methods to better repair and maintain the city’s infrastructure.

Syracuse’s iSchool partnered with AT&T and the city and started the competition on September 26. It is the first Hackathon in the United states to be focused to improve road infrastructure.

The winner, Stephen Shaffer is a Ithaca resident who submitted his idea: Scout, an alert system where residents can report potholes and other road issues through Facebook Messenger.

Shaffer says the app will allow the community to post pictures and GPS coordinates to identify problems in the road. The app has not been made public yet, but the city will use Shaffer’s idea in the future.

The Mayor is also interested in using the ideas of the second and third place winner to better improve the city’s roads.

And if you don’t have a Facebook account, Mayor Miner says not to worry. “We still have still have 448-CITY. We still have real human beings that answer the phones. We still have fax machines. We still have e-mails. We still have lots of ways for different people that who have different access to technology or don’t.”

Shaffer received a cash prize of $2,500 dollars. Syracuse University’s iSchool plans to host the contest again, next year.