We're challenging developers to look for innovative ways to utilize DOC and other publicly available data to help businesses identify opportunities, grow, enhance productivity and create jobs.

A key mission of both the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the newly-launched BusinessUSA initiative (www.Business.USA.gov) is to help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs.  We’re looking for innovative ways to utilize DOC and other federal and publicly accessible data and program information to help businesses:

  • Learn about and evaluate opportunities, both here in the U.S. and internationally;
  • Access useful government services, data, and market information; 
  • Fund business activities;
  • Support education and training, and
  • Facilitate or accelerate the pursuit of operating and growing their business. 

The challenge is to utilize at least one DOC data set in creating an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community.  CLICK "READ MORE" FOR LINKS TO SOME DATA SET REPOSITORIES.

You pick the technology… 

  • the web 
  • a personal computer 
  • a mobile handheld device, or 
  • any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet

…we provide the data (or at least some of it).

DOC offers a wealth of economic, demographic, environmental, weather, international trade, scientific research and program data and in this challenge, we require that you use at least one of our datasets in your application.  This data can be layered and/or combined with any other federal, state, local or publicly available information or datasets that you wish.  Below are listed some repositories for DOC and other federal data:

Commerce Data:


These represent only a partial list of data repositories and contestants are encouraged to use others as needed.

View full rules


$10,000 in prizes

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

Contestants must register for the contest on this website by creating an account between February 22 and April 30, 2012. Registrants will receive an email to verify their account and may then enter their submissions via the "Post a Submission" tab (Submissions).

  1. Submissions may be any kind of software tool, be it for the web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, or any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet. 
  2. A Submission may be disqualified if it does not function as expressed in the description or if it does not comply with the contest entry criteria (e.g., use of at least one DOC dataset). 
  3. All Submissions must be available for public use and evaluation by April 30, 2012 in order to be considered for judging purposes. 
  4. Once a Submission is made, the Contestant cannot make any changes or alterations to the Submission until the judging is complete. The approximate date by which the judging will be complete is May 21, 2012.

For all Submissions, the Contestant agrees that DOC will have the ability to release the code as open source at its discretion (see Rules for more details).

Important dates

Submission Period:
Start: February 22, 2012 12:00 AM EDT End: April 30, 2012 11:59 PM EDT

Judging Period:
Start: May 1, 2012 12:00 AM EDT End: May 21, 2011 11:59 PM EDT

Winners announced:
May 31, 2012 12:00 AM EDT, or soon thereafter


John Bryson

John Bryson
Secretary of Commerce

Steven Van Roekel

Steven Van Roekel
Chief Information Officer of the United States

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg
Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf
Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

Tim O’Reilly

Tim O’Reilly
Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media

Vivek Kundra

Vivek Kundra
Executive Vice President of Emerging Market, Salesforce.com

Judging Criteria

  • Use of DOC Data (20%)
    Does the application use a novel combination of relevant data sets, including at least one dataset from one of Commerce’s bureaus?
  • Usability and Interface Design (20%)
    Is the application implemented in a functional and elegant fashion?
  • Relevance to Stated Objective (40%)
    Does the application meet the mission defined for this challenge?
  • Creativity (20%)
    Is the application and concept creative and interesting?