The top ten contestants of the City of Johannesburg’s first GeoJozi Developer Challenge have been selected for developing digital location solutions which will best solve Joburg’s street address issues.

The Challenge has been made possible through a partnership between the City of Joburg, Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and mapping software company, Esri South Africa.

Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, Director of JCSE says, “It’s been a tough journey for our ten shortlisted contestants following a rigorous series of briefings, pitches and shortlisting since entries closed at the end of August 2016, with 80 submissions.”

The three winners of the Challenge will be announced on Wednesday, 16 November 2016, which is also international Geographic Information Systems (GIS) day. They will walk away with R150 000, R100 000 and R50 000 respectively. They will also receive membership to the Digital Innovation Zone at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein for a year, giving them access to working space and support by leading technical experts.

Director for Corporate Geo-Informatics for the City of Johannesburg Marcelle Hattingh says, “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.

“Street addresses that are not clearly displayed or not displayed at all make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to deliver essential services to residents of the city. In some informal settlements, we still have areas where street addresses don’t exist at all.”

Says Prof. Dwolatzky: “In choosing the top ten, the solutions that showed the entrants had more deeply understood street address challenges in our city were the ones that stood out. In addition, contestants that had done user requirement analyses and fieldwork offered more appropriate solutions.”

The ten finalists have all completed an intensive period of Geographical Information System (GIS) training, as well as professional software practice, start-up and business modelling, and social media training.

Solutions in the running for the GeoJozi Developer Challenge prize money include:

  • A property game similar to Monopoly but which only uses real addresses
  • A system that helps to identify and name locations within informal settlements
  • The quick harvesting of crowd sourced addresses to enhance address databases
  • An app which allows users to navigate to locations without knowing the address or GPS co-ordinates
  • A voting and reporting system for people to vote for street names or to report address issues they encounter
  • An innovative address plate which is the key element of a system that sources and validates addresses and displays them on the address plate device
  • A system that provides verifiable and identifiable addresses located in informal settlements
  • A system which creates a unique code for a point in time which is shared and linked to a map layout to locate an address
  • The ability to use geo-caching to link a home owner’s identity to a set of coordinates specific to their address.

“Choosing the top three of this Challenge will not be easy,” says Dwolatzky.

Hattingh adds that, “Contestants that did not reach the final rounds will be far more aware that addresses and location are essential for a high-functioning city. Many were not even aware of GIS, the power of location and the vital importance of accurate street addresses when they began. We hope they will be advocates in rolling out solutions to solve our street address issues.”

Patrick McKivergan, managing director of Esri South Africa, says: “It has been a refreshing and inspiring experience to see the innovation these young developers have brought to the challenge.”


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