Software Smackdown: OSHA vs. MBTA

In today’s Public Sector Software Smackdown, the federal safety agency OSHA’s heat index app faces off against the T’s array of apps.

OSHA commissioned a Lexington firm to build an app that calculates the heat index (a mathematical formula of temperature and humidity) and provides some tips on working in the heat.

After a FOIA request by our friends at Muckrock, we learn that the Android app got built, for $100,000. Apple and Blackberry versions are in the works for roughly the same amount.

Some developers aren’t impressed. In his review, Rich Jones of claims he could build the same thing for $600.

And heat index info is readily available already from a variety of sources.

Next up, the MBTA. They’ve spent almost $100,000 too to get the data that underlies their apps.

But they took a different approach — rather than a government official picking the platform and interface, the T conditioned the data and made it available to developers.

The result: 46 apps across multiple platforms, many with sophisticated real-time mapping of T vehicles and stops.

MBTA wins, by a landslide.


Crossposted at Pioneer Institute’s blog.