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Apps 4 Climate Action: Code for the Climate!

In the US, the government data driven app contest is in its heyday: Apps for Democracy, Apps for America, Apps for Healthy Kids and many more are challenging the software community to use their skills for the greater good, and demonstrate new uses for technology in the process.


Up north, the BC provincial government is bringing the apps contest model to Canadian soil for the first time on a challenge that affects everybody: climate change. The contest is called Apps 4 Climate Action. The BC government has organized over 500 sets of data from local, provincial and federal governments related to climate change. We are happy to be partnering with sponsors like SAP who have collectively offered over $40,000 in prizes for the best web and mobile apps that integrate at least one piece of provincial data. Each partner brings expertise in different areas such as reporting, data management or usability. We are excited that SAP is offering their reporting and analysis tools for free to developers to create Apps 4 Climate Action and making their developers available for help and support through forums and webinars. Click here for more info.


If you’re a Canadian developer who cares about climate change, and you can think you can put together an app that inspires people to take climate action and reduce carbon pollution, we’d love you to get involved.


The key deadline: apps must be submitted by July 15, 2010. So there’s time to come up with your idea and create something that you think will make a difference. Cash and bragging rights will be yours if your app is a winner. The IP rights remain yours too, though the BC Government asks that the winners grant it the right to use and promote the app for a year following the award.

Read about the prize details here and the rules here. If you have any questions at all, you can get in touch with us at a4ca [at] gov [dot] bc [dot] ca. We’re also on Twitter at @a4ca and on Facebook at


But wait, there’s more…


One of the goals of the contest is to open up a discussion between government and the development community about using public data to encourage economic development and innovative approaches to solving public challenges. To that end, the Apps 4 Climate Action team is hosting a series of webinars that will hopefully make us as the provincial government better at delivering data, and you as developers better at turning it into something amazing.


Here’s the schedule:


  • Webinar 1, May 11th, hosted by the Province of BC The Climate Data Catalogue—what’s in it, how it works, and how we can make it better.
  • Webinar 2: May 25th, hosted by SAP Canada Inc.
  • Webinar 3: June 8th, hosted by Microsoft Canada Inc.
  • Webinar 4: June 22nd, hosted by Analytic Design Group Inc.



Click here to send a registration e-mail for the May 11th webinar.

More webinars are planned, stay tuned for registration details!

We’re really excited about the possibilities of this project. Thanks in advance for your advice, efforts and ideas for helping Canadians take climate action.

Colleen Sparks     
Director of Carbon Neutral Government
Climate Action Secretariat
Province of British Columbia

David Hume
  Executive Director, Citizen Engagement
  Ministry of Citizens’ Services
Province of British Columbia



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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Climate change is an issue that affects us all, and though this contest is for developers in Canada, we want to encourage all of you outside the country to participate by helping the projects.

      If you are outside of Canada and still want to get involved, keep an eye out for updates here, in the forums and on the project site. You will have a chance to answer questions, give advice and help make these projects the best they can be – and earn points on SCN for each post!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Author's profile photo Jason Lax
      Jason Lax
      If the last winter was taken into consideration (09/10), the analysis would be quite opposite.  My hometown of Montreal barely got snow this past winter after a record fall 2yrs before.  While on recent visit there, the whole climate was topsy turvy and has been for a few years.  Things like flowers pushing through the soil in early March only to be frozen 2 weeks later with -12c weather - and then back to +24c a week later during Easter!?!?! The situation is becoming more dire in the Arctic with the ice coming later and melting soon: heck, they're even thinking about opening the Northwest Passage!  Somethings not right and no one can say with any authority what's going on.  Best to play safe and each do our part (and become more efficient/productive in the proce$$).
      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Thanks for sharing this Jason! Very interesting. Your last statement re: benefits is really important, because many businesses (as well as individuals) understand that protecting the environment is important, but when it comes down to making the buying or spending decision, being socially responsible is not their first purchase-criteria. What would it take to change this?
      Author's profile photo Jason Lax
      Jason Lax
      Good question!  One, the cost of transporting goods can be increased to reflect their carbon footprint.  Before the crash, the record prices for oil saw many companies thinking twice about relocating.  Another option is something similar to the nutritional information labels found on food packages: a label that informs consumers how much water was consumed and carbon produced for the item.
      There's something else I just realized: the practice of planned obsolescence (i.e. product designed to fail) is something that needs to be addressed too.  All too often, it's cheaper to buy something new than repair it.