DeVice Wins the Hack4Colorado Pot for App that Helps Feed ‘Vices’

6/3/13Follow @MichaelXBD

What do you get when you put 100 Denver-area hackers together for about 48 hours and give them access to loads of data about hiking trails, where city dwellers can plant urban farms—and where you can buy marijuana legally?

You get 18 apps that can help rescuers find injured hikers, connect urban farmers to buyers, and help out-of-towners find cannabis and feed their vices while staying on the right side of the law.

Those were the ideas that came out of Hack4Colorado, a “civic hackathon” hosted in Denver by Galvanize. Teams designed apps through the weekend before an award ceremony Sunday.

The event was part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. About 90 events were scheduled as part of the event, which is in its inaugural year. The turnout for Hack4Colorado made it one of the largest events, Hack4Colorado organizer Ann Spoor said.

Eighteen teams developed apps that take public data provided by federal agencies like the U.S. Census Bureau or local governments and turn it into something useful for citizens. Teams competed in five tracks: tourism, health, sustainability, education, and government. The winners took home $2,000 each.

The audience voted DeVice Colorado best in show. The team put together an app that will help users find places near them where they can feed their vices. The app can be customized to the tastes of individual users, and features a broad number of “vices,” which includes traditional vices like alcohol but also activities like hiking.

The app still has some kinks to work out, but it uses geolocation to find the user, and it knows where to find craft breweries and distilleries, coffee shops, trails, and late-night restaurants. But what probably set DeVice Colorado apart was its ability to direct users to the nearest marijuana dispensaries.

Legalized marijuana is a big issue in Colorado. There already are hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and in November, Colorado voters approved the retail sale of marijuana.

Supporters say retail sales could lead to the development of a legal-pot tourist industry. If they’re right, something like DeVice Colorado’s app could become a widely used tool.

DeVice Colorado’s website also includes links to information explaining the legality of marijuana in Colorado and which … Next Page »

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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