‘Holy motherboard!’: White House hosts Safety Datapalooza

2012_09_toddpark U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park (Photo: FedScoop/David Stegon)

The White House brought more than two dozen experts, enthusiasts and innovators on Friday for the first Safety Datapalooza that featured discussion on ways data can be used to make life safer for the general public.

The event was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Transportation and included U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park acting as master of ceremonies who used the phrase “Holy motherboard!” at one point.


The event aimed to highlight innovators from the private, nonprofit and academic sectors who have utilized freely-available government data to build products, services and apps that advance public safety in creative and powerful ways.

Some of the innovations discussed.

  • California-based Trulia has developed crime and commuter maps that help people find safe places to live. Company Chief Operating Officer Paul Levine said these types of solutions are only available because of the federal government’s open data initiative.
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving announced the launch of the Tie One on for Safety infographic challenge that asks people to create a compelling visual that uses government drunk driving statistics.
  • “At the Department of Labor we sit on treasure trove of incredibly valuable safety data that can help us all achieve goal of building stronger economy,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris.
  • The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is offering $30,000 in prizes in a challenge to build apps that educate the public about safety in the workplace.
  • The National Institute of Justice is launching a Body Armor Challenge on Friday to look for non-destructive ways to test body armor that would make it more affordable for police organizations to protect its officers. The challenge will feature more than $50,000 in prizes.
  • Sam Ramon Valley Fire Protection Chief Richard Price presented the PulsePoint App that lets people trained in CPR know the location where a person may be suffering cardiac arrest.
  • The American Red Cross last month launched its Hurricane App that puts lifesaving information in the hands of people who live or visit hurricane prone areas. The free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross for use on both iPhone and Android platforms.

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