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Eye-Catching Esri-based Apps Developed at TechCrunch Disrupt SF

Last week Esri’s Startup and Developer Team attended TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015. TCdisrupt debuts revolutionary startups, introduces game-changing technologies, and discusses what’s top of mind for the tech industry’s key innovators. Disrupt gathers the best and brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, tech fans and reporters for on-stage interviews, Startup Battlefield competitions, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, and a Hardware Alley. To learn more about the events, visit, Disrupt SF Hackathon (Sept 19-20) and Disrupt SF Conference (Sept 21-23).

Esri, a product sponsor and exhibitor for both events had the pleasure of judging hundreds of innovative (and sleep-deprived) hackers who gathered to debut their one minute presentations, after less than 24 hours of development. Our goal: encourage hackers to build the next great app using our technology stack. With access to a free ArcGIS for Developers Account, we encouraged clever hackers to quickly add geo to their apps using Esri’s online services and SDKs. Or, develop in the API of their choice and deploy on any device. The prize? Best use of Esri ArcGIS mapping technology won a $5,000 prize ($2500 cash, plus $2500 ArcGIS Online subscription).

After judging over 100 impressive submissions, and following much deliberation, Esri selected a winner, Happy Parent Club! The goal of the app is to set an activity zone for your kids to roam in and get notified if they leave the area. Parents always want their children to have fun at the park, but they also want peace of mind that they will be safe. Incidents happen when parents are not alert, and Stephen Bussey and William Hoffmann wanted to find a solution for that.

Parents designate an activity zone that their child is allowed to be in. They connect the child’s device and receive an instant pin on the map indicating their child’s location. When the child goes off the map, both the child and parent device are alerted with a loud audible sound as well as a red screen. The app was built in less than 24 hours using native Objective-C for iOS. With their Developer Account, they were able to develop the app using the Esri iOS SDK as well as Magnet. Esri maintains the polygon for the geofence and provides the mapping data, while child-parent communication between the devices is handled via a Magnet chat room. The child’s device sends GPS coordinates to the parent, which the parent device checks against the established geofence (Activity Zone) using the tools provided by the Esri iOS SDK. Learn more about their app on DevPost:

Esri TCdisrupt Winner Happy Parent Club
Esri TCdisrupt Winner Happy Parent Club

With a variety of other impressive apps, Esri would like to provide an honorable mention to the following groups:

Haven: An interactive, social way for members of the community to input local disasters and how the incidences are affecting them so they can receive help. The hack used Esri’s ArcGIS API and Android SDK for location and map data visualizations, both key to their application. More info here: An app that locates good food for medicinal smokers, based on peer reviews. Members pair delicious local meals with their favorite marijuana strains at local dispensaries. Learn more:, or read more about their hack in this TechCrunch blog post, “A Yelp for Hungry Stoners”.

CentreStyle: A unique way to plan, style, and browse for outfit inspirations when traveling to new destinations. Using the Esri ArcGIS API, a user’s location is detected and displayed on a map. Then with information about the destination, such as weather conditions, they used the Zalando SE API to generate recommendations for the user’s outfit while showing style inspirations from surrounding app users, learn more: Read more about their hack in this TechCrunch blog post, “Built by Teenagers, Helps You Get Dressed in Any Weather”.

Congratulations to the winners and other hacks. Supporting a hackathon requires a lot of energy, focus, and time, but is incredibly rewarding. Seeing people’s eyes light up as they start to see what our GIS tools can do for them makes it all worthwhile, and at each hackathon we support, we see the work that’s been going into really paying off with teams doing more advanced geo development than the last time.

Many thanks to the awesome team at TechCrunch, but moreover to all the hackathon contestants for making it such an exciting weekend. We look forward to participating in TechCrunch Disrupt London in December and hope to see you there!

About the author

Katie Decker is the Community Manager for the Esri Startup Program, a free three-year program that gives emerging businesses the tools to build mapping and spatial analytics capabilities into their products. As Community Manager, Katie enables hundreds of startups to successfully leverage Esri’s technology and global business network. She also helps to foster their collaboration with a wide array of organisations and industries such as - local, regional and national governments, utilities, transportation, natural resources companies, commercial organizations and more.

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