It should be no surprise that New York City, run by a mayor who made his billions on data and information media, is one of the fast-moving cities trying to open up all of their data centers to provide a firehose of information to developers and other cities in an effort to making living in dense urban centers easier and more enjoyable.
At the forefront of this push is the city’s Department of Information Technology Telecommunications, which is behind an effort to create NYC Big Apps, an attempt to make an open graph of data for anyone and any department in the city wishing to make applications that can improve people’s lives. The city is even interested in sharing its APIs and data with other cities, but that may be a little further down the road.
I talked briefly with Nicholas T. Sbordone, Director of External Affairs, New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, about the NYC Open Data initiative and other moves the city is making to make the city more open. He offered me three bullet points. I’ve also included a video of Rachel Stern, who is the city’s data protagonist, below.
According to Sbordone, the city is trying to achieve the following:
Replacing the old NYC DataMine, NYC Open Data provides datasets in a variety of machine-readable formats and as application programming interfaces (APIs) for direct connectivity to data feeds; enhanced browsing and search capabilities allowing users to search by full dataset – or by datum within datasets; visualization tools such as maps, charts and graphs; and discussion forums for user feedback and suggestions.
Moving forward, regular refreshes of data sets will follow, and we’re in the process of adding a field to the metadata that will tell users how often that particular dataset will be updated.
In parallel, we’re working to help City agencies automate the publishing of their data – so instead of their having to send it over periodically we’ll be able to refresh it on NYC Open Data as soon as they update in their systems.
Here’s a video of Sterne talking about open data and the city’s “Roadmap for the Digital City” at O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 conference a couple of weeks ago: