This weekend, volunteer programmers and civil society experts gathered in both Moscow and Washington, D.C. for the first ever US-Russia open government codeathon. The Moscow codeathon was hosted at Yandex, where seven teams of energetic coders participated, which made the judges’ decision very difficult. The panel of judges was made up of representatives from the tech and open data community. The judges announced the winners early evening Moscow time — while DC coders were still going strong after a long night of coding.
An honorable mention went to Olga Makarova, a female student who travelled all the way from St. Petersburg to work on accessibility mapping. Third prize went to a program for tracking the assets and income of public officials, built in response to a challenge from Center “Transparency International-Russia.” Second prize went to a visualization of government procurement spending data built in response to a challenge from the Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance. First prize went to a team with participants from Yandex for a prototype for an anonymous, fraud-proof, verifiable e-polling program.
Code4Country D.C. was hosted by American University, where eight teams of coders worked around the clock to prepare their final projects to present to a team of judges made up of technologists and transparency experts from Transparency International, NASA, University of Maryland and George Mason University. A wide diversity of interesting projects were submitted. The judges awarded third prize to a team from American University who developed a heat-mapping visualization tool for D.C. crime statistics. Second prize went to an SMS-based neighborhood networking service built by a team from George Mason University. First prize went to another American University team who built an open search tool capable of connecting citizens to legislation relevant to their interests, and helping them to understand it.
Coders in D.C. and Moscow were linked via live video simulcast during much of the weekend and where teams in both countries were working on similar challenges, they took time to connect by Skype videoconference and learn about each other’s approaches.
Code4Country Moscow was opened by a warm welcome from Dr. Mikhail Fedotov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, who also live tweeted the opening ceremony. Ilya Ponamarov, State Duma Deputy, gave lively closing comments following the award ceremony at the reception Sunday night. In Washington D.C. USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Jonathan Hale, distributed the awards to the winning D.C. teams and closed the Code4Country codeathon with remarks thanking the coders for their energy and commitment and highlighting the collaboration between the technologists and civil society in both Moscow and Washington D.C.