City of Joburg launches addressing developer challenge

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The City of Johannesburg has launched its GeoJozi Developer Challenge, calling on developers aged 30 or under to help the city improve its systems of allocating and maintaining addresses.

The City of Johannesburg said the GeoJozi Developer Challenge was aimed at developers with an interest in apps, maps, data, urban development or cities, with the inaugural challenge being run in partnership with Witwatersrand University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and mapping software company Esri South Africa.

Developers will be expected to come up with addressing and location solutions for local governments, which are facing complex challenges as a result of rapid urbanisation.

The winning solution will earn its creator ZAR150,000 (US$11,000), while second and third places are worth ZAR100,000 (US$7,500) and ZAR50,000 (US$3,750) respectively. The winning ideas may also be implemented by the City of Johannesburg. Applications are open here until August 31.

“Street addresses specify points of service delivery. They are essential for electricity, water, refuse, sewage, emergency services, land ownership, parcel deliveries, safety and security, being able to vote and countless other critical services and functions. A street address can save a life,” said Marcelle Hattingh, director of Corporate Geo-Informatics for the City of Johannesburg.

Prof Barry Dwolatzky, director of the JCSE, said as the world becomes more digitised, more real-time data about cities is becoming available.

“This data can help to manage cities better and make them smarter. A street address informs us of location, and that is where Geographic Information System (GIS) comes in. It’s all about a specific position or the coordinates on earth,” he said.

Dwolatzky said this creates exciting opportunities for creating smart cities, modern urban development and 21st century city management.

“We are calling on young Johannesburg-based software developers to work with the city to help improve the allocation, maintenance and visibility of street addresses across our city,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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