Hat in the ring

The 2008 NetSquared conference (N2Y3) will be about the results of their Mashup Challenge. The Challenge is an invitation to nonprofits to think up a  mashup that would serve their cause and submit a proposal to build it. The top proposals will be decided by voting by the NetSquared community. The winners will be matched up with programmers from big name shops in the Silicon Valley to make the mashup a reality. The results will be exhibited at N2Y3 and top prizes awarded.

Ideas for an ACS mashup have been floating around for a couple of years, but, as far as I know, the only concrete outcome is Patrick Shore’s Relay/Google Map mashup for Georgia. (I think he just took the bull by the horns, as they say.) I contacted Patrick and asked if he was interested in the NetSquared mashup contest, and, fortunately, he said yes. He contacted some data folks at National and we got a hasty conversation going. My sense of the competition is that the mashup will have to show a direct benefit to your organization’s constituents to stand a chance to be picked for support. So I suggested we focus on seeing what a series of overlays on a Google map of cancer incidence and mortality would tell us when combined with overlays of data about income, insurance coverage, facilities, and other indicators of access to care–or lack thereof. The idea would be to visualize what the statistics say. I think a picture is worth a thousand words. My first impression on seeing Patrick’s GA Relay mashup was, "Wow! Look at all the Relays. Being in Relay is being part of something BIG."

The deadline for the proposals is rapidly approaching, so I quickly whipped up a proposal  you can see here. Having spent last Friday at Google (I’m on the right in the pic above taking tutoring from Pamela Fox, center, of Google’s Maps API Team) with other nonprofit folks with proposals, I can say it certainly will be a challenge to do this thing. There are a bunch of technical issues (JAVAscripters please contact me), and just getting the data from public sources like SEER and the Census Bureau in compatible formats will be a job. But I think it’s worth it.

I invite anyone to read the proposal and give feedback in the comments.  We have until Friday, the 14th to finalize the proposal.


  1. Hi David,

    We chatted for a bit with Pamela Fox at google last friday and I think this idea is great. I’d encourage you and others to incorporate environmental data into this mashup (there are a few superfund/toxics mashups in the contest already). I’m going to chat with our lead person on environmental health and see if I can get him interested. We’ve been dealing with environmental health databases for a long time (ever seen scorecard.org?) and may be of assistance. Feel free to contact me and it was nice to meet you!



  2. Thanks for spreading the word about the NetSquared Mashup Challenge, David!


    Britt Bravo
    Community Builder
    NetSquared • A Project of Tech Soup

  3. Hi David,

    Your project sounds really exciting! I look forward to seeing how it develops. I wanted to share a little bit about our Mashup Challenge entry: Assetmap.org/uganda. You can read more at http://www.assetmap.org/uganda

    The question behind the project is this: with peace on the horizon after 20 years of war in northern Uganda, and the big NGOs soon heading off to other war zones, who is going to support community organizations and northern Ugandan civil society as it transitions to peace time?

    By mapping information about ongoing community-led philanthropic partnerships in northern Uganda, assetmap.org/uganda helps American citizens aggregate their resources to support post-conflict transformation.

    We hope to facilitate collaboration among American donors and volunteers by providing a digital tool that:

    •maps project locations so you know who’s working where
    •tags information about the specific issues projects and organizations seek to address
    •links tagged and mapped projects to the facebook and LinkedIn profiles of participating donors or volunteers

    If you’re interested in supporting us, please visit and vote for us here:


    Nathaniel Whittemore
    Director, Northwestern University Center for Global Engagement
    globalengagement at gmail

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