Create wayfinding apps that help visitors and members of the Penn community navigate and learn about Philadelphia and the Penn campus.

The Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) is a leading resource for emerging growth companies in the information technology, clean technology, and life sciences industries.

The PACT Wayfinding App Challenge is part of a two-competition series aiming to connect the best developers with forward thinking Philadelphia enterprises, and to help create new viable businesses benefiting healthcare, higher education, and government.

This year, PACT has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and Independence Blue Cross (IBC) to provide two unique opportunities for developers covering the topics of healthcare and wayfinding. Finalists from each competition will be invited to present their entry publicly during a live judging event on June 29th, 2015.

Current State

The University of Pennsylvania has a long and proud tradition of intellectual rigor and pursuit of innovative knowledge, begun by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. That tradition lives today through the creativity, entrepreneurship, and engagement of our faculty, students, and staff. It has twelve schools located on a contiguous urban campus in University City. There are approximately 10,000 undergraduate and 10,000 graduate students in addition to staff and faculty. The campus has college greens, recreational spaces, public art, historic and modern architecture. Add that to the already historic and landmark-filled city of Philadelphia and you’ve got the perfect place to explore!

We would like to help students, visitors, and faculty of Penn make the most of Philadelphia by helping them navigate and learn about the city and Penn campus! Help us make the most of Philly!  

Thinking about toying with new technologies for wayfinding? Here’s your chance! With its numerous landmarks, large Penn student body, plethora of events, and rich history, the University of Pennsylvania and the city of Philly is the perfect place to test out new navigation and information technology.

To get started on the PACT Wayfinding App Challenge, check out the requirements section below and the Resources page.

View full rules


This challenge is open to: 

  • Individuals who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry (in the United States, the age of majority is 18); Teams of eligible individuals; Organizations (up to 50 employees)
  • Organizations with over 50 employees may compete for the non-cash Large Organization Recognition Awards. 
  • Employees and students of the University of Pennsylvania are eligible as long as they are not involved with running the Challenge; are not responsible for maintaining University owned data used in their submission; and don’t develop their submission as part of a job with the University. Please see full rules for details.


What to Create:

Submitted applications must:

  • Help visitors and members of the University of Pennsylvania community navigate and learn about Philadelphia AND the Penn campus.
  • Integrate wayfinding technology. 
  • Use written, verbal, and/or visual cues to provide information about one or more of the following - on and off campus: current events, educational resources, historical  landmarks, landscape, and public art.
  • Run on a mobile device. 
  • Augmented reality and geolocation functions are encouraged, but not required.
  • Analytics on the number of users, length of time, and sites visited, which are recorded and accessible is encouraged, but not required. 

Supplemental Material: You must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the solution via screencast or video. You must also submit at least one image/screenshot of your working solution.

New & Existing Solutions: Apps may be newly created or pre-existing. If the submitted app existed prior to the competition’s submission start date, it must have been updated, during the submission period, to include new features/functionalities specifically aiming to help visitors and members of the University of Pennsylvania community navigate and learn about Philadelphia AND the Penn campus.

Testing: You must make your app available for testing by providing a link to access your installation file, an uploaded installation file, a TestFlight build, etc. See full testing access options.

How to enter

  1. Click “Register” to sign up for important challenge communications.
  2. Visit the Resources page for access to the required datasets, tools, and more.
  3. Create your app!
  4. Shoot your demo video and take screenshots of your functioning app.
  5. Provide a way for us to access your app.
  6. Get started on your draft and submit early.

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of Idea
    Includes creativity and originality of the idea.
  • Implementation of Idea
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer.
  • Potential Impact
    Includes the extent to which the application could impact the desired population visitors of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Sustainability
    Includes the likelihood of the application’s continued use by the intended population. How “sticky” is the app?