Auburn, AL, USA

Update #1: We've got a great storify page up for you to follow the updates of the event:

Update #2: Congratulations to the winning teams!

  • Top 2 Teams:

"Is Toomer's Corner Being Rolled Right Now?" by "Math Dept Team Alpha"
Project URL:

"IPark" by "IPark"
Project URL:

  • IBM Bluemix Prize:

"Greenifyby "Sweatervest Coding"
Project URL:
Android APP:
Rails API:

  • Honorable Mention:

"Smart Traffic Grid" by "Resistars"
Project URL:

TL;DR: Hackathon, free food, drinks and prizes, February 20-22, plz come. Plus it looks great on a resume.

Register now!

As part of Global Urban Datafest, we are hosting a Smart Cities Hackathon in Auburn, AL the weekend of February 20 - 22. There will be free food for all participants, and prizes! Teams of students, researchers, data analysts, social scientists and engineers will be spending 48 hours hacking on software and/or hardware, to build smart tools for improving life in cities. Any and all students, faculty, programmers; pretty much anyone can join! As long as you have an interest in building something, you'll have a great time. You don't have to form a group to come, you'll be able to find a team to work with on the first day of the event.

We have a great judge panel consisting of Software Engineering professor Dr. Jeffrey Overbey, Don Crow, founder of Verge Pipe Media, John Walker, web coordinator of the Opelika-Auburn News, and Christopher Graff, GIS Manager, IT Department at the City of Auburn, and Song Gao, PhD student at CSSE, Auburn University. Dr. Overbey has also agreed to help be a technical mentor, if you'd like some help.

We have a list of real-world challenges, based on needs in Alabama, prepared by experts to choose from, or bring your own idea! Examples include a data conversion tool to help city offices open up data for public use, location tracking of mobile food trucks, and easily-accessible modern tools to help transportation experts understand people's travel patterns within Alabama. We'll have a more complete list at the event!

This hackathon is a joint effort between Auburn, UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center, and Alabama Media Group. Auburn and UAB teams will be competing against each other for the best ideas and implementations in Alabama! Participants of both locations will compete for two local prizes (decided by local judges). Two winning groups from every city will have two more weeks to work on their prototypes and will compete for a global prize (will be decided by global judges). In addition to this, Alabama Media Group will choose a state-wide prize between participants from Auburn and Birmingham.

More info coming soon!

Register now!


We’ve collected a bunch of ideas from Auburn City Office, Birmingham City Office, Alabama Media Group, Opelika-Auburn News, and UAB Sustainable Smart City Research Center. Take a look at here!


5:40 PM: Check-in (Shelby Center 3129) & Dinner
6:10 PM: Inception + Sponsor Intro
7:00 PM: Make friends / Team Formations / Project Planning
11:59 PM: Finish the team page on the website to enter the Pi raffle!

9:00 AM: Breakfast & Coffee
9:30 AM: Start Hacking, Hustling & Designing
12:00 PM: Lunch
3:00 PM: Mentor Time
5:30 PM: Status Reports/Project Page on the Website
6:30 PM: Dinner
9:00 PM: Hack, Hydrate, Eat. Sleep!

9:00 AM: Breakfast & Coffee
9:30 AM: Hack, Hack, Hack
10:30 AM: Mentor Time
12:00 PM: Lunch
4:30 PM: Final Presentations/Demos; Judging; Dinner


Raspberry Pi for Raffle!

Every participant will have a chance to win a Raspberry Pi Model B+ as long as your teams actively work on the project. We will run the raffle throughout the weekend. We've got 15 of them and may the luck be in your favor!

Top Two Teams
  • Each team will receive a prize provided by Alabama Media Group
  • Both teams will be nominated for global recognition, and have two additional weeks to prepare for the global competition.
IBM Prize
  • Eligible for one team. Teams competing for this prize have to use IBM Bluemix platform. IBM is offering a 90 day Bluemix free trial to the hackathon participants. One team will be eligible for $12,000 USD credit good for any SoftLayer server or service. For more information see here.


Please take a look at the global rules, but here's the gist:

  1. Create a project page before Saturday. Include the team name as well as team member names, but feel free to leave out project information if you are not sure yet. We'll use these names for the Raspberry Pi raffle throughout the weekend!
  2. Complete project information by 5:30 PM on Saturday.
  3. Have the demo ready by 4:30 PM on Sunday.
  4. The project code has to be written during the weekend. (using an existing open-source library is fine)
  5. Create a GitHub repo as early as possible if you plan to open source your project. Contact us to add you into the global-urban-datafest organization. Please note that to participate in the global competition, your project needs to be open source.


(in alphabetical order)

Don Crow, Founder and CEO of Verge Pipe Media

Donald “Don” Crow is the Founder and CEO of Verge Pipe Media, headquartered in Auburn, Alabama. Don has over 20 years’ experience in leadership, operations, marketing and business development. With Verge Pipe Media, Don assists clients in Higher Ed, technology, hospitality, construction and event management. Don previously worked as the Director of Corporate Relations with Auburn University where he successfully raised over $1,000,000 to fund scholarships and University wide initiatives.

Song Gao (PhD candidate of Auburn University and organizer)

Song is a PhD student at Auburn University. On Twitter he defines himself as a hacker, web developer, wireless engineer, and PhD student. Song's research interests include wireless networks, vehicular networks. Outside academia, he loves writing code and building useful software tools. Song is on the global team as well as Auburn local team of this hackathon. He also helped organize a datafest hackathon in 2013 in Auburn. Oh btw, he loves rock climbing.

Christopher Graff, GIS Manager, IT Department at the City of Auburn

Christopher P. Graff, GISP, is the Geospatial and Information Systems (GIS) Manager for the City of Auburn, Alabama. He received multiple degrees from Clark University in Geography and Graphic Arts and a Master’s of Science in Geography from Texas A&M University. Christopher has worked with or for local governments for 13+ years. As the GIS Manager, Christopher oversees the collection and maintenance of the City’s geospatial data as well as the systems consuming this and other enterprise datasets.

John Walker, Web Coordinator of the Opelika-Auburn News

John Walker is the Digital Content Coordinator at the Opelika-Auburn News since 2008. This led to covering two college football national championships, multiple breaking news stories, promotional video production for outside organizations and much more. has won several awards each year from the Alabama Press Association with multimedia projects, breaking news coverage, continuing news coverage, overall general excellence, and has made it into the Top 10 websites in the Associated Press Sports Editors yearly contest.

Jeffrey Overbey, a Software Engineering professor at Auburn University and mentor of the hackathon

Jeffrey Overbey, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Auburn University. His research focuses on software development tools, with an emphasis on automated refactoring tools. He has also worked as an independent software consultant and contributes to several open source software projects.


20% Usefulness
Is the project based on Alabama cities real needs? How relevant is it?

20% Innovation. Application uniqueness.
Is there existing projects that accomplished the same goal? Does the project provide a better/faster/clearer way to attack the problem than others? Does it tackle a problem with a new angle / on a bigger scale / on a higher level?

20% Usability. User experience
Is usable, intuitive and clear? Easy to use? Professional/fun?

10% Technical Difficulty
Too easy? --- Very Difficult?

15% Functionality (Solution Completeness)
How functional the prototype implementation is for the proposed idea and goal? The project prototype should not be merely an idea or user interface, but should be functional to some extent.

15% Scalability
The ability to adapt the project for wider use. The project should be adaptable to other locations, but not necessarily useful to large percent of population.



#alhack #smartcityhack


Shelby Center,
3129 (Seminar Room) and Study Room
Auburn University

Kick-off Meeting
6 PM, 20 February 2015, CT

Start: 9:00 AM, 21February 2015, CT
End: 4:30 PM, 22 February 2015, CT

4:30 PM, 22 February 2015, CT


Ana Maria Carrano

Robert Skelton

Song Gao