Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't see the answer to your question here you can submit it on the Get Help page for an answer.


What is an apps competition?

Apps, short for Application Software, are computer software designed to help the user perform a specific task like getting directions or playing music. Apps competitions invite developers to build new apps, with awards going to the best. Click here for the Apps for Metro Chicago Press Release and here for the Competition Overview and Talking Points.


I have an idea for an app but no idea how to build it. What can I do?

If you just want to share your idea, you can mail it to [email protected] and we’ll post it on the Ideas page of the website. If you want to find a developer to partner with you or your organization, join the Google Group on the Ideas page and put out your request.


How do you define Metro Chicago?

The seven counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.


I don’t live in Metro Chicago. Can I still enter an app?

Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements.


My app doesn’t help people in Metro Chicago. Is it still eligible?

No. All apps have to at least touch on the Metro Chicago area even if they are built on data from the state of Illinois.


What criteria are the judges using?

Functionality, Creativity, Longevity and Usefulness. For more details see the Judging Criteria.


What are the prizes?

$50,000 are available for awards. For more details see the Awards.


What are my deadlines for submitting an app?

Round 1, Transportation: August 15th at 11:59pm

Round 2, Community: September 30th at 11:59pm

Round 3, Grand Challenge: December 2nd at 11:59pm


For a full list of all the important competition dates see the Key Deadlines 


I built an app with a team. How do we enter?

The team should select one representative to enter the competition. If the app wins, the check will be awarded to that representative to divide among the team.


Are there any coding events scheduled?

Yes. We will be at TechWeek on Sunday, July 24, at 2pm. Check the Updates on the site to learn about future events.


What kinds of apps are eligible?

Web-based, texting-based, and mobile apps are eligible.  The competition is not exclusively for smartphone apps; we encourage developers to use multiple platforms.


What is placemaking?

Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place.  In order to advance the principles of Placemaking in the Chicagoland area, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is offering a special IBM-sponsored prize of at least $2,500 in cash and prizes for the best Placemaking app or apps in the Apps for Metro Chicago (A4MC) competition. For more information see the rules.