As more companies open up their data and provide API access to connect to developers, possibilities continue to arise for community service and non-profits. The World Bank is one such organization, with its World Bank API and recent challenge to solve real world problems. That contest is now over, but the public voting period continues.
As described by The World Bank in an email, the goal is to utilize the talent of and global developers to help with economic development programs:
The World Bank has a long relationship with data, and data has been a core part of what they do since the very beginning. They have more recently embraced open data, and is so doing they've managed to create a community of people who want to use the World Bank's data for public good, particularly in developing nations, where free + transparent access to data has been limited, and new opportunities can be identified with the right tools in hand.
The World Bank opened up its data in 2010, such as its World Development Indicators, so that developers could, according to the World Bank:
1. Raise awareness of at least one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or
2. Contribute to progress toward meeting one of the MDGs by 2015.
The application process ended last month with over 100 submissions, of quite a variety. From desktop apps to mobile and web apps, developers focused on reducing poverty, improving education, improving gender equality, and alleviating many other global development challenges.
Awards will be determined not only by selected judges, but also by public vote, which is now open to through March 15.