YORK, Maine — Alexander Glidden, 8, and William Colglazier, 9, of York, have proven a point asserted by Glidden’s tech-savvy mom: that anyone can create a mobile application.
Their efforts earned them a Global Entrepreneur Award at DataDays 2014 in Gent, Belgium, according to Alex’s mom, Julia Glidden.
The boys created the @Me-on-the-Move mobile app of York Parks and Recreation Department events. It can be downloaded here.
The next stage is to turn the application into an icon to download, Glidden said.
Julia Glidden founded 21c Consultancy in London, a company that takes the latest technological trends and makes them useful for governments, institutions and average people.
“We see trends before they become mainstream,” she said. “We make everything we do publicly available.”
Among the company’s latest projects is Citadel-on-the-Move, which creates mobile applications from listed raw data. One such use of the app has been to show all of the public parking areas on city maps, Glidden said.
However, anyone with information on any topic, from bird migration to a list of public restrooms, and even crime reports, can create a map app in minutes that pinpoints those interest, Glidden said Wednesday from her York home.
Police departments in larger cities have used the application to show areas of high crime, she said.
The hardest part is gathering the information, she said.
Alex and William went to York Town Hall to gather the data for town sports and other events one day in January. The night before, both families had gotten together for a going-away dinner at the York Harbor Inn, Glidden said. She had talked about the mobile application and William and Alex said they wanted to try it. She thought it would be the last she would hear of it.
“I didn’t think they would do it,” Glidden said.
But the next day, William and Alex were at the town hall when Kevin Colglazier and Melissa Murphy stopped to pick up their son to drive him to the airport, Glidden said.
The boys continued to communicate through Skype. They created mobile applications for York, Holyoke, Mass., where Glidden is from, Cape Town, Gent, Belgium, and Athens, which Alex said he has visited.
Alex said, “I learned working with friends makes you achieve a lot more.”
In February, William went to Belgium where United Nations eGovernment Advisor Richard Kerby and Flemish Information Communication Technologies, or ICT, Minister Geert Bourgeois presented him with the award on behalf of both boys.
William and Alex gave their 500 euros in prize money to a school in Africa to buy computers, Alex said.
William said in a released statement, “I really wanted to do something to show the way the world is getting smaller.”
Glidden said, “These guys proved what I was trying to do with a particular project.”
Glidden has a doctorate in international relations. She said she was drawn to ICT at the onset of the World Wide Web.
“I saw then how technology changed the world,” she said.
Glidden uses such terms as “open data” and “open innovation” as though they were part of the everyday lexicon, and likely they will be.
Open innovation is the trend toward greater collaboration between government and its people to create new public services; open data is what fuels the innovation, she said.
“It’s about taking dry data and innovating it,” she said. “Citizens can become innovators.”
She commutes to London and has speaking engagements around the world, but she and her husband, Colin James Murphy, wanted to raise Alex in York, a place she visited years ago with her parents and later with friends.
“I wanted my child to have a New England lifestyle. I missed the seasons,” she said, though admitted the family could have done without this past winter season.