Winners of the GeoJozi addressing challenge

November 17th, 2016, Published in Articles: PositionIT


To help solve its addressing challenges, the City of Johannesburg opted for an unusual approach by engaging young talent in the GeoJozi Developer Challenge, launched in August 2016. The winners of the challenge were announced at the prize giving ceremony at the University of the Witwatersrand on 16 November 2016, which is also International GIS Day.

Thapelo Lebo, a junior software developer at SAAB, won the R150 000 first prize money, while Methembe Dlamini walked away with the R100 000 second prize, and Absalom Mpanzee was awarded the R50 000 third prize.

Addressing is key to a city’s functioning, informing anything from service delivery to city planning and management, and therefore plays a crucial role in an inclusive society. Besides raising awareness of the importance of addressing, the competition also set out to prove the usefulness of GIS as an innovation platform and to develop youth skills.

Methembe Dlamini, Yondela Silimela, Absalom Mpanzee, Thapelo Lebo, Barry Dwolatzky, Senzo Nkoyane and Marcelle Hattingh.

From left to right: Methembe Dlamini, Yondela Silimela, Absalom Mpanzee, Thapelo Lebo, Barry Dwolatzky, Senzo Nkoyane and Marcelle Hattingh.

Run in collaboration with the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and Esri South Africa, the winning solutions were chosen from 80 submissions. Over a three-month period, which included elimination rounds, contestants had the opportunity to refine their ideas and also received GIS training from Esri South Africa.

Mobile applications proved overwhelmingly popular throughout, although two hardware solutions were also pitched in an earlier phase of the competition. All three of the winning solutions were mobile phone apps, two of which employed crowdsourcing principles. The winning solution, the Redeem Jozi app, turns geotagging into a game in which users compete according to their region in Johannesburg, with the user collecting the most points in the shortest time receiving awarded prizes such as mobile data vouchers.

Proposals’ cost, time to deploy, ease of use and additional benefits were part of the judging criteria, as were participants’ attention to detail and upfront research, such as whether a project name exists or has already been registered, software licences were also considered, and whether the skills required for the execution were included in the planning.

Thapelo Lebo said he plans to use the winning prize money to first replace his laptop, and then to register his own company and to develop his project further.

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