Philly311 Widget Contest

your-app-hereCalling all civic coders and community activists! The City of Philadelphia invites you to submit your idea for a new Philly311 Mobile App Widget – and then build it! The winning entry will become an official widget on the app.

What’s a Widget?

The Philly311 Mobile App provides the ability to add new features – known as widgets – to the main menu (see screenshot) that point to a web site URL. This allows us to build mobile web apps independently and deliver them through the Philly311 Mobile App to over 13,000 users instantaneously.

Examples of this have included the L&I Property History widget, and the Election Day widget, both of which were mobile web apps included as a feature inside Philly311.

Where Do I Come In?

We want to hear your idea for a new widget. And if you’re a software developer, we want you to build it! The winning submission will be officially added to the Philly311 Mobile App, citywide, with you credited as its author.

All submissions will be accepted, but we encourage submissions that address the following topics:

  • Community Improvement
  • Digital Access (lack of access to computers/internet)
  • Traffic
  • Public Health
  • Education
  • Environment

Hack Night

Join 311 Director Rosetta Lue and Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid for the Widget Contest’s Hack Night – Bring your ideas, bring your laptop, and build your widget!

Tuesday, 5/21, 6pm at Devnuts, 908A N 3rd St, Philadelphia PA 19123

Working Together

Contestants can reply to this posting with their idea and/or their skillset, and work together to build the next Philly311 widget. Not a programmer? No problem – post your idea here or show up at the Hack Night and meet one.

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges from Philly311, the Office of Innovation and Technology, and PublicStuff will weigh responses according to quality and utility, as well as the following criteria:

  • How it connects to Philly311
  • How it relates to suggested topics
  • Feasibility of hosting and maintenance
  • How close the app is to being finished

How to Submit

Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 at 11:59pm EDT.

To submit, upload your app to a repository at and email with a link to it. Be sure to include a readme file that describes your app, how it can be hosted and maintained, and who was involved in working on it.

Questions & Updates

Still have a question? Post a comment below and we’ll reply.

Want to be notified about updates and winners? Be sure to sign up on this site and subscribe to this post!


The timeline for this contest (5/15 – 6/4) includes several events where you can meet other power users and civic coders and work on your project.


Official Rules

By participating in the Philly311 Widget Contest (the “Contest”), you unconditionally accept and agree to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of the City, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

The Contest runs from 5/15/2013 through 6/4/2013. Winner will be announced by 6/18/2013 at the location of this posting.

The Contest is open only to legal U.S. residents who are at least eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of entry. City employees and officials, and any firm in which a City employee or official has a direct or indirect financial interest are not eligible to enter or win. Void where prohibited and subject to all federal, state and local laws.

You are required to read and agree to any terms of service, privacy, and security policies on GitHub’s website ( in order to submit an Entry into the Contest.

No Entry may include depictions of individuals who have not expressly authorized you to display their image, likeness, or voice in the Entry or otherwise use such image, likeness, or voice in accordance with these Official Rules.

Your Entry must not depict or incorporate obscenity, lewd or inappropriate images, words, or text; nudity; acts of violence or acts that appear to cause harm or are illegal/dangerous; attacks on any person, organization, or product; illegal activity; or other offensive conduct or material, as determined in the City’s sole discretion. Any Entry that does not satisfy this or any other requirement of the Official Rules will be disqualified from the Contest.

Your Entry must not include any material that violates or infringes another person’s rights, including, but not limited to, privacy, publicity, and intellectual property rights, such as copyright infringement, or include third party trademarks, logos, insignia, location signage, photographs, artwork, or sculpture. In the event of any claim, suit or action by any third party against the City, the City shall promptly notify you in writing and you shall defend such claim, suit or action at your expense, and you shall indemnify the City against any loss, cost, damage, expense or liability arising out of such claim, suit or action (including, without limitation, litigation costs and counsel fees) whether or not such claim, suit or action is successful.

You grant to the City a personal, perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license to publish, broadcast, exploit, assign, license, sublicense, and otherwise use the Entry, in whole or in part, unaltered, altered, alone, or in combination with other materials, worldwide, in any form (including, but not limited to, source code and object code), and in any medium. You represent and covenant that you have full power and authority to grant the rights granted here and elsewhere in the Official Rules, without the consent of any other person or entity, and that such rights are irrevocable.

You represent and warrant nothing contained in the Entry infringes the intellectual property rights of any person or entity.  You hereby release and hold harmless the City from and against any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages, or losses to persons or property that may be sustained in connection with participation in the Contest.

The City collects personal information including, but not limited to, your name, email address, and phone number from you when you enter the Contest. See the City’s privacy policy for information about how personal information may be used.

The contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. No purchase or payment of money is necessary to enter or win.

GitHub is neither a sponsor of this Contest nor has any responsibilities regarding its conduct or administration.

10 comments on “Philly311 Widget Contest
  1. James Evans says:

    I haven’t done a civic project before – will there be publicly available APIs for our use, and if so, what are they? What sort of information will partipants have available to them?

  2. twisniewski says:

    The timeline for this contest (5/15 – 6/4) includes several events where you can meet other power users and civic coders and work on your project.

    5/21 Widget Contest Hack Night
    5/28 Code for Philly
    6/1 – 6/2 Random Hacks of Kindness
    6/4 Code for Philly

  3. kkillebrew says:

    I’ve got a map widget together for finding trash and recycling days, here:

    The user can either enter an address in the search bar or just click a spot on the map to find the collection days for a location. If there’s a holiday coming up in the next week, it pops up an alert.

    For maintenance, the holiday schedule will need periodic updating. I’ve loaded dates through the end of 2014, assuming next year’s schedule will be the same as for 2013. It’s just HTML and JavaScript, so hosting shouldn’t be an issue.

  4. Chris Alfano says:

    Mobile app:

    I’m not sure how the iOS-style titlebar+back button will look embedded within the 311 app, but we could play around with UI for going back to previous screens and the theme to make them fit in better if this project were selected.

  5. twisniewski says:

    Emailed to me by Ariel De Pradad:
    Hi Tim,

    Here is my submission for the widget contest.

    The readme file in the repo explains the app, how to set it up and maintain it. I have it hosted on a site I own temporarily if you want to see it in action.

    Hope that you like it!

    Ariel De Pradad

  6. twisniewski says:

    Emailed to me by Kevin Clough:
    My submission is a Sencha touch based mobile app for browsing information regarding Philadelphia schools.

    This app is consuming the Schools Api made available by Mark Headd

    Can preview here:

  7. twisniewski says:

    Emailed to me by Keith Fulton:
    Hello Tim,
    Here is my app idea, I hope you guys see the potential in this app widget. I really didn’t send the time I would have liked too, but this is my civic duty for the year. Thanks for the opportunity.


    Demo site

  8. twisniewski says:

    Hey everyone, the winner was just announced:

    Thank you everyone for your participation!

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Philly311 Widget Contest"
  1. […] listed in the contest’s official post on BigIdeasPHL, the  winner was chosen based on the app’s quality, utility and the following […]

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