Google and Weather Channel hackathon winners have Kennesaw State ties

"Storm the Road" competition focused on building apps for weather safety …

Georgia (Jul 24, 2015)"Storm the Road" competition focused on building apps for weather safety 

ATLANTA, Ga.  (July 24, 2015) — A Kennesaw State University student and two alumni won first place at the “Storm the Road: Hackathon for Safety” competition hosted by Google and The Weather Channel. The team included Kennesaw State software engineering student Calvin Nix and Kennesaw State alumni Luis Lopez and Zacch Thomas, as well as Auburn University student Daniell Yancey.

(Pictured L to R: Kennesaw State's Luis Lopez, Zacch Thomas and Calvin Nix; Photo courtesy of OpenSpan)

The 24-hour hackathon sought area developers to create a new app or feature for mobile or web that helps to keep the public safe and informed by merging weather and map application programming interfaces provided by Google and The Weather Channel. It was designed to blend maps and weather for consumers on the go to help them plan their own safety preparation or during a natural disaster.

“This competition was a great opportunity to team up with friends and solve problems for a great cause,” said Nix. “Our focus was always the end user and we wanted to ensure that the idea we ended up pursuing would benefit the end user the most.” Their goal during the competition was to create an innovative idea around safety and preparedness and turn it into a useable app in 24 hours.  

The team created a calendar application for Android, called “BeForecast,” that allows users to create appointments of their own personal events by inputting details such as date, time, location and description into the app. Using that information, the app provides a forecast of predicted weather conditions for a user’s specified event, as well as a shortcut button for navigation to the event.

Although Nix, Lopez and Thomas have a Kennesaw State connection, they met at OpenSpan, an Alpharetta-based technology company that provides a broad range of desktop automation solutions, where they are currently employed.  

The team beat out 13 other teams during the “Storm the Road” competition at the Weather Channel headquarters in late June.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit