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Marathon session the first step in creating disaster alert applications

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Team Mango came in the winners at Marathon Data Systems’ 24-hour Hackathon coding event this weekend, creating a crowd-sourced application where community members can receive up-to-the-minute information in the event of a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy.

Marathon Data Systems, a Wall Township-based software company, organized the event, titled the Jersey Shore Comeback-a-Thon, in the hopes of contributing to restoration efforts. The company hopes to help businesses that have been struggling with rebuilding costs, loss of profits and lack of customers since the storm, and to let people know the Jersey Shore is open for business. Marathon plans to help the winners get their product to market.

Mango’s team of developers won $1,000 for their idea. The app would include a texting component, so users could update others on things such as which businesses had power, and also receive status updates on their phones even without Internet access. Two runners-up won $300 prizes for their ideas.

“We were really excited to see what the teams came up with in such a short period of time,” said Chris Sullens, Marathon’s president and CEO, in prepared remarks. “The ideas and work generated during this event could go a long way toward benefiting the local community. We look forward to hosting similar events in the future that challenge participants to use technology and creativity to create something of benefit to the community.”

Five teams spent the night at the CoWerks facility in Asbury Park working furiously on their coding, stopping only when food deliveries arrived.

“The majority of the programmers worked for 24 hours and didn’t sleep at all,” Sullens said. “It was exciting to see these guys come up with ideas on the fly and start writing the codes. In 24 hours, they took a concept and turned it into something tangible. There was a lot of coffee flowing, but they were pretty exhausted when they finished in the morning.”

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