In modern IT, big ideas come in small packages.

Think, so small they can be measured in pixels.

At the MoDev East 2013 Hackathon, Dec. 12–13 in McLean Va., proudly sponsored by NJVC, the best ideas will fit comfortably on your phone, as entrants will compete to make the most compelling and useful apps across a series of seven competitive tracks. NJVC, a provider of integrated, enterprise solutions and technical engineering to federal and commercial clients, is offering $1,750 in total prize money for the best geospatial related apps. (ViewNJVC's presentation, below.)

“At NJVC, IT means Innovation Technology,'” says Pothiraj Selvaraj, vice president, technical operations. “Mobile is a tremendous tool for IT advancement, as both government and commercial customers seek to find increased efficiency and functionality in their operations. NJVC is glad to continue contributing to its advancement and support MoDevEast."

With a legacy of IT leadership and enterprise solution delivery for numerous geospatial customers, NJVC is a natural fit to support geospatial-related application development. 

Competitors will develop apps which may, for example, provide mobile reporting of road outages in a disaster, provide pilot assistance or use GPS tagging to identify emergency responders.

Judging criteria will be based on the app’s originality, intuitiveness, incorporation of touchscreen functionality, value, performance and usability.

For NJVC, innovative development of mobile apps in support of customer missions further aligns with another core NJVC principle: leveraging existing assets and technology in more meaningful ways. Mobile can act as a fulcrum to raise existing IT performance levels.

“Mobile is an exciting field because the sum of a customer's IT offerings can be a click away at all times,” Selvaraj says. “Its effective use requires innovations, crowdsourcing like the Hackathons, combined with a clear understanding of customer mission and comprehensive knowledge of the IT landscape.”

In recent years, mobile geospatial apps have provided an immense benefit, from emergency response to every day functionality.

Crowd-sourced apps like the Ushahidi mobile apps, which were deployed in response to the 2011 Honshu earthquake and other disasters around the globe, or Google's popular Waze app, or have demonstrated the ability of mobile geospatial apps not only to include existing IT, but to enhance it.

The impact of mobile app development will only increase in the coming years.

Earlier this year, NJVC helped lead a Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) demonstration into the use of cloud computing in disaster response situations. The demonstration showed an immense savings in response time and cost, and was powered in part by mobile app technology. In the demonstration, mobile apps helped foster information sharing and avoid real-life problems, such as what happened during the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti—for instance, according to a commander in the field, a major metropolitan area fire department resorted to navigation by using rental car agency maps. 

For December’s Hackathon, which is in its third year, the goal is simpler: Quickly create compelling geospatial-based apps. But the lesson is the same: How better we can leverage existing technology and create new, intuitive usage patterns and paradigms through innovation?.

Winning entrants will receive prizes of $1,000 for first, $500 for second and $250 for third—a big reward for an even bigger idea.