Hackfort2 served as the perfect opportunity for the city of Boise to try an experiment. The city made all its public data accessible to the tech-minded types to create an app during Hackathon.
One team, dubbed Team Josh, started on their app Friday afternoon. Over the course of two days, the team of four poured more than 40 hours into their app, which they called Boise Art Hunt.
It's a scavenger hunt-like experience, which highlights some 600 public art pieces found around the city on a Google Maps platform. When the user's phone gets close enough to a piece of public art, info pops up on the screen with the artwork's name, the artist and when the artwork was installed. As the user visits more pieces, badges and coupons become unlocked.
"You get $5 off admission at the Boise Art Museum," a member of Team Josh said. "I don't know if they'll actually honor it," he added with a laugh.
The members of Team Josh work for Boise-based White Cloud Analytics. Their app took third place at the Hackathon award ceremony on the afternoon of March 28.
There were a total of eight apps entered into this year's inaugural Hackathon. They included an app made for visitors to Boise with events, restaurants and outdoor activities; an app devoted to connecting people who want to join sporting games around a Boise park; another app linking up Boise art and historical sites to Wikipedia information; a trail challenger app; and a Pac-Man-like game that uses parking meters around Boise to collect virtual coins.
The Hackathon winning app was Datefort, created by a group of seven computer programmers from out-of-state.
Datefort is a simple and elegant design that uses city data and Yelp to create date-night recommendations. It suggests both a restaurant and an outdoor activity nearby. For example, when hitting the "Ran-date-mize" button, it suggests playing basketball in Cottonwood Park and eating dinner at Chandlers. The app uses Google Maps to point users in the right direction but specifies users must bring their own supplies and date.
The winning team receives a Zipline Pass to Treefort 2016, and the city of Boise will feature the app.
The Hackathon awards ceremony at the Owyhee was suddenly interrupted Saturday night, though, when a seemingly intoxicated woman wearing a too-tight tube top and bright turquoise pants wandered into the room. With her buttcrack exposed, she stumbled around the room, asking people for spare quarters and then yelling, "Fuck off, man."
She fell to the floor several times, which drew the attention away from the Hackathon awards as Treefort organizers tried to get her to leave. She meandered to the front of the room and grabbed the microphone, yelling obscenities to a stunned, uncomfortable audience.
Then music started and she broke out into song. The crowd had been duped into an incredibly tense surprise show by renowned New York City performance artist Amber Martin. Once the audience realized her appearance was planned, everyone laughed, although a little nervously, and sat back for the performance. Martin performed at Humpin' Hannah's that night.
With that, Hackfort2 was wrapped. The event sold 600 tickets—tripling the number of tickets sold last year. Organizers are already set to start working on Hackfort3 for 2016.