New York City is in the process of opening a whole lot of data to developers as part of the BigApps competition.
Contestants will be asked to develop functional digital applications that will facilitate the dissemination of and greater access to publicly available City data. NYCEDC will manage the competition (including logistics and promotion) and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) will coordinate the formatting and release of selected City data to the public. The BigApps Competition will help to make City government more transparent, accessible and accountable and stimulate innovation in information technology that could lead to new businesses and job creation.
In order to do this, developers have to send in a request for data
These descriptions should provide as much detail as possible about the type and level of data desired. In addition, respondents are requested to describe how they envision the data being used in software applications that provide a useful service to City residents, visitors and government.
The Open Government NYC Meetup group is running BigAppsDevCamp, a workshop to help developers navigate the system of requests and proposals required by the city. They are also collecting project ideas.
Today, I saw an example of where New York should be heading. Infosthetics pointed out San Fransisco’s open data initiatives, including DataSF and San Francisco CrimeSpotting.
DataSF is an online repository of datasets available from the City & County of San Francisco. Similar to the goals of the data.gov and USASpending.gov initiatives, DataSF aims to improve access to data, help the community create innovative apps, understand what datasets the public likes to see, and receive feedback on the quality of the data. Included data ranges from all the trees located in the San Francisco streets (planting date, species, and location) to all its building permits or complaints.
In my opinion, that’s how New York should be running this competition. Don’t make developers try to guess how detailed your data is, or what you are collecting. I’m hoping there is an enterprising developer out there is who requesting ALL NYC data and will then make it all available to the public.