Team Thor just hammered the competition in a 2-day coding competition. Their mission: to make the potholes of Sidoarjo, Indonesia, ancient history.

A new app called Road Report allows citizens to tag potholes using their smartphone’s GPS and send a complaint to the local authorities. All complaints will be hosted on the Azure cloud platform run by Microsoft.

Transport concerns are a big issue in Sidoarjo: the second placed app also allowed citizens to report potholes. The application used a vibration detector and an accelerometer to detect poor road conditions, which users can then report by taking a picture.

The third-placed app allows citizens to track pending service requests with the local government, such as identity card renewal or marriage certificate requests.

More than 150 students participated in the appathon, which was run by Microsoft. The students focused on 6 issues: public administration; clean water services; road infrastructure; public service complaints; taxes; and licensing services.

Stefan Sjöström with competing students
Stefan Sjöström with competing students

“With a population of more than 2 million, Sidoarjo is poised to be one of the hottest sites of innovation in Indonesia in the coming years,” said Drs Ec. Asrofi, assistant regional secretary of governance and public welfare in the regency. “The CityApp Appathon is an important step towards our goal of creating a connected and liveable city”.

“With a population of more than 2 million, Sidoarjo is poised to be one of the hottest sites of innovation in Indonesia in the coming years”

Microsoft’s vice president of public sector, Stefan Sjöström, attended the event to view the students’ creations. “Today’s digital tools have the potential to enable rapidly growing cities like Sidoarjo to grow their economy, stimulate job growth, and create a modern, safe, educated and healthy community,” he said.

The appathon builds on similar competitions held in other Asian cities, including Makassar, Indonesia; Changchun, China; and Kathmandu, Nepal.

These events are part of Microsoft CityNext global initiative, which supports municipalities with new technology and infrastructure. One of the key pillars of the movement is engaging citizens and encouraging innovation.

“Microsoft’s CityNext initiative takes a citizen-centric approach to help cities in Asia,” Sjöström said. We’re excited to be helping Sidoarjo’s young citizens move forward with their winning projects and bring them to reality.”