Winners of the New York State “Play in the Parks” App Contest Announced

NYU-Poly Student’s Design Chosen To Provide Feature Rich, Unique Way to Discover New York State Parks

The New York State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT), the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) today announced the winners of the NYS Play in the Parks App Contest.

The NYS Play in the Parks App Contest was an application development contest for graduate students at the NYU-Poly announced in April. Graduate students of NYU-Poly were challenged to create a web-based or mobile application proposal to help citizens discover the beauty and history of the New York State park system.

A panel of judges from the New York State Empire 2.0 Committee, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and NYU-Poly selected Yigit Kiran’s project proposal “Park Wise” as the grand prize winner. Mr. Kiran will receive a $2,000 scholarship provided by NYU-Poly and will develop his proposal as part of an unpaid internship at CIO/OFT. Mr. Kiran is a computer science student from Istanbul, Turkey.

“I am pleased to extend my sincere congratulations to Mr. Kiran and the rest of the winners of the NYS Play in the Parks Contest,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the use of modern technologies while helping New Yorkers learn about the historic sites and see the true beauty of New York’s state parks.”

“Park Wise” is aimed at helping users obtain information on what they see as they travel through parks by using the newest technological trends in human computer interaction. “Park Wise” will be developed as a mobile application to assist visitors of New York State parks. Individuals using the application can learn about the unique and historic sites in New York parks by pointing the camera of their mobile device at a key point of interest. For example, if users point a camera at the Helderberg Escarpment located in Thatcher State Park in Albany, they would learn it is one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world.

In addition, “Park Wise” will feature a navigation application. While wandering the parks, “Park Wise” will allow users to see their current location and where they are headed. “Park Wise” users will also have the ability to take photos of their experiences and share them on Facebook, comment on key points of interest, and read other users comments.

“I am extremely pleased to be selected as the grand prize winner of the NYS Play in the Parks App Contest and to begin working on “Park Wise” through an internship with the NYS Office of the Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology,” said Mr. Kiran. “I want to thank NYU-Poly, CIO/OFT, and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for selecting my project. I believe “Park Wise” will enhance the experience of those visiting our New York State parks.”

“We are pleased to offer Mr. Kiran the opportunity to gain hands-on working experience while developing his mobile application,” said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology. “New York is a leader in the New Digital and Innovation Economy. We developed this internship to help cultivate future leaders pursuing careers in information technology. For six weeks, Mr. Kiran will have the opportunity to work alongside experts in the IT field, while utilizing some of the state’s greatest IT assets.”

“With the extensive variety of functions available, mobile applications have become a vital part of our lives. We are extremely excited to see how Mr. Kiran’s unique application “Park Wise” will create a more well-rounded experience for visitors at our state parks and historic sites,” said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “New York’s parks offer many treasures. We must continue to look for creative ways to highlight and share these riches with our state’s citizens and visitors.”

Two proposals were also selected as second place winners and each team will receive a $1,000 scholarship to NYU-Poly. The second place team winners were Kunjan Sanghvi, Nisarg Shah and Yogesh Trivedi; and a team comprised of Marvin Charles and Ram Kumar. Honorable Mentions in the contest were awarded to Avinash Vutukuri and Barn Durukan, who will each receive a $500 scholarship to further their educational goals.

“We are pleased to award Mr. Kiran and our four runners-up scholarships to NYU-Poly,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin. “This competition is an outstanding vehicle to foster the spirit of what we call i-squared-e: invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. It furthers students’ innovative thinking and provides technical, real-world experience — essential lessons in entrepreneurship. We are very proud of all the complex and technically difficult project proposals submitted for consideration.”

State Parks provide affordable, close to home recreational opportunities to more than 56 million people each year. The NYS Play in the Parks App contest was designed to enable graduate level students the ability to develop a creative, useful mobile application to help an active and mobile generation discover all the beauty and opportunities the New York State Parks System offers.


The State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) provide statewide IT strategic direction, IT policy and centralized IT services to the state and its governmental entities. CIO/OFT provides IT enterprise services to support the missions of state agencies by operating four mainframe data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including more than 90,000 telecom users, 50 statewide mission-critical applications, a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber, including IT operations, telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing.  In addition, the agency has a world renowned project management practice, operates a first class technology academy for NY government entities and e-learning program for groups, operates a 24/7 customer care center, develops and supports web applications and assists with application development.  For more information, visit

About the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 36 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit

About NYU-Poly

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is one of New York City’s most comprehensive schools of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 156-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is one of the nation’s oldest private engineering schools. In addition to its main campus at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. NYU-Poly has centers in Long Island, Manhattan and Westchester County; globally, it has programs in Israel, China and will be an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi opening in autumn 2010.


Angela R. Liotta
Acting Public Information Officer

State Parks
Dan Keefe
Deputy Public Information Officer