Thursday, June 9, 2011

StatPlanet World Bank Wins Apps for Development Competition

    StatPlanet World Bank Wins Apps for Development Competition

Washington : The World Bank has announced winners of the World Bank’s first-ever “Apps for Development” competition on Thursday.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said, “One of the reasons we threw open the doors to our data was that we recognized we don’t have a monopoly on innovation. These apps clearly demonstrate how the software development community can harness technology to analyze and tackle some of the world's long-standing problems. It’s fantastic to see the creative approaches each of the finalists took, and it’s also great to see that the submissions came from six continents.”

An app that allows users to visualize development indicators using powerful charts and maps, a web-based tool to measure the impact of global events on progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, and an interactive app that lets users make their own comparisons of countries’ performance, were announced today as the top winners of the World Bank’s first-ever “Apps for Development” competition.

Last year, the World Bank issued a challenge to software developers from across the globe to take on some of the world’s most pressing development problems by creating digital apps using the Bank’s freely available data. The response was overwhelming, with 107 entries from 36 countries across six continents, and nearly a third from Africa.

A panel of expert judges, including technology gurus such as Kannan Pashupathy of Google, Ory Okolloh, co-founder of Ushahidi, and Craig Newmark of Craigslist, selected the winners. A total of $55,000 was awarded in cash prizes to competition winners.

The three winning apps all feature unique approaches to pressing development challenges:

First Prize Winner - StatPlanet World Bank (Australia): With this powerful app, you can visualize and compare country and regional performance over time. The user can select from among the 3000+ indicators covering virtually every dimension of economic, social, and human development, and can select the manner in which the data is displayed. This app allows anyone an easy interface to these indicators - even without Internet connectivity - via a desktop version of the app.

Second Prize Winner - Development Timelines (France): Development Timelines lets you put global development data into historical context and better understand how events such as war, education reforms, or economic booms and busts, affect progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Third Prize Winner - Yourtopia - Development beyond GDP (Germany): This interactive app allows you to sum up human development according to your own criteria and, through a short quiz, choose how important different dimensions of development are to you. You can then participate in constructing a multiple-dimension index of human development.

Aleem Walji, Manager, Innovation Practice at the World Bank Institute, said, “This competition has brought software developers into the development conversation. We see enormous potential in crowdsourcing solutions to persistent development problems, and we are especially excited when our data can be used as raw material to spark creativity and innovation.”

The winners also included a Popular Choice Award, determined by online voting by the public, which went to WORLD (Macedonia), an app that selects data at random to generate concise statements about progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

In addition, the Large Organization Recognition Award was given to International Project Funding: US Foundations and the World Bank (USA), an app that shows funding for agriculture, fishing, and forestry projects from the World Bank and US foundations, as well as the percentage of land cover in each country that is occupied by forests or cropland.

Honorable Mentions were given to World Bank Widget (Finland), Get a Life! GAME (Netherlands), Know Your World (USA), Bebemama mobile app - Empowering mothers (Thailand), TreePet (Mexico), Economic Data Finder (UK), Indicators Lab (India), FACTCHA: Stop Spam, Advocate for the MDGs! (Kenya), MDG Chart Generator (Jamaica), and MDG Maps (Uganda). More information on the award winners is available at

Open Data, Open Knowledge and Open Solutions

The Apps for Development Competition was launched in September 2010 by World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick as part of the Bank’s Open Data Initiative, an effort that unlocks the institution’s world-class knowledge and development data for researchers, activists, students, and development practitioners across the globe.

The initiative is rapidly expanding, in line with the huge demand for development data and information.

As part of the Open Data Initiative the World Bank has recently developed its own app – “Mapping for Results" (—which visualizes the geographic location of programs at the global and regional levels and in 79 of the poorest countries


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