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Grand Rapids area team wins top prize in Code Michigan competition

Morgue File

A Grand Rapids area team has won $15,000 in the second annual statewide competition for civic-minded software developers.

The team's winning app is called "SnowFi."  It shows where snow plows are, and which roads have been cleared for safer travel.

All teams are given access to public data to create software to benefit Michigan residents and tourists, according to Lauren Leeds,  spokesperson for the recent three day event - called Code Michigan. 

"By having these citizens who are using this material take a look at how they could develop a mobile or web application to improve or reinvent state government, they might just come up with a fabulous idea that perhaps a state employee hasn't thought of, " Leeds said.  She said these applications for the public good could potentially save lives or just make interacting with state government a more pleasant experience.

The event is a joint effort of state government and the private sector. Leeds said all expenses and cash prizes are paid by corporate sponsors.

In addition to the $15,000 grand prize, the winning team gets a 30-minute meeting to pitch its idea to a venture capital fund.

Smaller prizes went to two other apps. One, called "NeighborFood," is a farm-to-table app to connect shoppers with local farmers for fresh produce and products. The other, "Marquette Gravesite Locator," helps people find gravesites in Marquette County.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom