Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. The first round of 2013, which opens in February, will invite innovators from all disciplines to focus on tools for open government. In 2012, three challenge rounds, each focused on an emerging trend, drew more than 2,500 entries.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS: Winners were announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA: Winners were announced Sept. 20.

Challenge 3 – on MOBILE: Winners were announced Jan. 17.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

National Flood Information System

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

We want to develop mobile web platform and applications for a National Flood Information System (NFIS) initially for United States to share community-based flood warnings, information, maps and visualization in real-time.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]

The NFIS will integrate public data from several sources (USGS, NWS, Core of Engineers, etc.) to provide a rich and consistent user experience for general public, organize data around communities, and provide interactive visualizations and interfaces to improve awareness and action about floods with real-time flood warnings, forecast, and maps. The NFIS will utilize GPS and location capabilities of the smart phones to provide customized notifications and information, and use camera capabilities and orientation of the smartphone to overlay information using augmented reality.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]

The NFIS will be used by general public to check hourly high-resolution rainfall information, and flood warnings after a rainfall event.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.

The NFIS will be a unique product that focuses on flood related data, information and visualizations. The NFIS will attract media outlets, technology blogs, and social media with its novel forecast and visualization capabilities, which helps reach general public. 

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]

We already developed a small part of NFIS for Iowa, called Iowa Flood Information System. We already reached many organizations and general public in Iowa through academic conferences, state fair, exhibitions, and public meetings.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]

The Iowa Flood Information System (freely available at is developed by our group at the Iowa Flood Center to became a one-stop web-platform to access community-based flood conditions, forecasts, visualizations, inundation maps and flood-related data, information, and applications. Although IFIS provides services for Iowa, it has been visited by users from 144 countries, and 3451 cities around the world, which shows the interest and need in the flood related platform.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]

The NFIS will help communities make better-informed decisions on floods, and alert communities in advance to help minimize damage of floods.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]

We need financial resources to develop the project, and marketing resources for reaching general public.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Ibrahim Demir and Witold Krajewski
Expected number of months to complete project:
12 months
Estimated Project Cost:
Ibrahim Demir
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: 
Iowa Flood Center
Iowa City
United States
How did you learn about the contest?
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