On Wednesday night, we launched a beta version of NYC’s Developer Platform - a hub for talented civic developers, offering tools, documentation, code samples, peer-to-peer support, and more!
We shared the prototype at the #betaNYC Meetup, a weekly HackNight hosted by Code for America’s NYC Brigade at Blue Ridge Foundation.
After an introduction by DoITT’s Director of R&D, Andrew Nicklin, attendees divided into groups to hack the portal’s UX (user experience), content & documentation, technology, and community-collaboration.
Breakout topics and areas for feedback include:
– to co-produce an Open311-compatible read-only API from the Socrata dataset, and package that as an API we can deliver through the portal.
Terms & Conditions/Policy – to make sure that we’ve clearly defined the expected behavior of those who register and engage on the developer portal. We’re interested in hearing from the community to see whether these expectations are accurate. For example, would they discourage a developer from registering and taking advantage of the APIs we are offering? Are there considerations that need to carry forward into the terms and conditions for their own customers?
APIs/Site Design & Ease-of-Use – to explore how the site can best help programmers find the resources they need. Suggestions received on Wednesday included: creating a responsive site design; driving end-user contribution through a ranking or reputation system, such as Stack Overflow; building out FAQs, documentation, code-samples, and examples; and enabling collaboration between developers using the platform. What else can we do to improve the experience?
Hack to Source a Real-Time Stream – the City provides feeds that need to be queried once-a-minute for changes. We’re interested in developing a layer which will handle queries automatically and deliver a real-time stream of the data over HTTP. Multiple City data sets – like 311, which has ~40k updates per day – would be even more powerful if provided in real-time. It’s a proof-of-concept with a lot of potential.
We’re so appreciative of the enthusiasm and dedication everyone brought to the meetup. Stay tuned for the next iteration in the coming months. In the meantime, sign up for an account and let us know what we can do to make the site more useful and to improve the experience!
Explore the beta nyc.gov/developer site
View the Beta NYC Developer Platform presentation
Join the #betaNYC Meetup group
As part of the one-year anniversary of the NYC Open Data Law – Local Law 11 of 2012 – we’re profiling users of NYC Open Data.
Check out this detailed visualization of NYC’s urban tree canopy by Tom Swanson from ESRI. The map is based on the NYC Parks Department’s high resolution land cover data set, which charts grass and shrubs, bare earth, water, buildings, roads and other paved surfaces.
Urban trees provide environmental, social, and human-health benefits, but these benefits are hard to measure. Using NYC OpenData, the NYC GIS basemap and object-based image analysis, NYC Parks, the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, and partners developed a comprehensive land-cover map that includes the tree canopy down to the scale of individual trees.
To create the map, the team relied on high-resolution LIDAR to present the height and texture of land cover as well as multispectral imagery and contextual analysis to distinguish trees according to their physical and spectral properties. Converting high-resolution LIDAR and imagery into usable information took significant processing time and labor, but was an effective method for fine-scale canopy mapping in NYC’s complex urban environment. An article on this innovative use of object-based image analysis was published in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing in 2012 - abstract available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.6.063567.
View NYC’s land cover data set on NYC OpenData
View the high-resolution land cover map
Photo: Brian Dalessandro presenting at the NYC Parks DataDive
How does data analysis help the Parks department care for the city’s trees? Learn how DataKind Data Ambassador, Brian Dalessandro, analyzed Parks data to find that the Parks’ tree pruning program reduces emergency cleanups by 22%!
Read the blog post
Check out tree census data on NYC OpenData
DoITT’s Albert Webber delivered a presentation on the NYC OpenData portal to a full auditorium at the 2013 hackNY Student Hackathon. This event took place on April 6th at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University.
Check out the projects from the student hackathon
Credit: Photo by Matylda Czarnecka from the hackNY flickr
Aaron Schumacher submitted this data visualization of daily entrances into the MTA subway system. According to Aaron:
“Start with open data, then some processing, and eventually you can make a picture like this. You can also check out the interactive version, where you can see the date and number of entrances for about three years worth of subway traffic. You can clearly see traffic changes around major holidays, and especially the effects around hurricanes Irene and Sandy.”
Check out this visualization designed and created by Eric Schles and Thomas Levine. Using MTA turnstyle open data and daily weather observations from NOAA, they show the impact that super storms have on subway ridership.
As part of the one-year anniversary of the NYC Open Data Law – Local Law 11 of 2012 – we’re profiling users of NYC Open Data.
Today we’re highlighting the work of Aileen Gemma Smith, Founder and CEO of Vizalytics Technology, an organization whose mission is to enable change with data. Vizalytics began as an R&D project called Staten Island Counts. Their goal was to use data and visualizations to tell a precise story about the opportunities and challenges for Staten Island communities and businesses.
We condensed the interview we had with Aileen below.
How are you sharing open data with your community?
In Staten Island, information is siloed and not everyone is aware of how much is available, or the potential of merged datasets to give useful insights into needs and opportunities. We’ve shared open data with elected officials and other community stakeholders like the members of Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and members of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation. People are thrilled to discover how easy it is to access open data.
What type of data does your community find useful?
Hyper-local data is really important. We have gone over 311 data reports of trees, wires, sewer overflows, and crowded drains. After Sandy hit, my partner and I worked from our hotel room (we live in Zone A and evacuated) manipulating data in Google fusion tables from gas station maps and Staten Island business maps. We looked at surge lines and looked at what businesses were within the surge lines. Specifically, we proposed the Staten Island Borough President’s office create maps using Department of Buildings’ red tags, and overlay it with property lot size and values and census info to understand the risk profiles for different neighborhoods.
The map above shows businesses in Staten Island that were within Sandy surge lines.
The map above delineates what parts of Staten Island were within Sandy surge lines.
How can open data help a small business?
Not Just Bagels is a local business that’s looking to be more competitive, especially after being hard hit by Sandy. For small business owners the focus tends to be on what they do best, for example, “How do I make a better bagel?” We help broaden the perspective to, “How do I find more customers? What are influences on my business that might lead to more or less foot traffic?” We help businesses like Not Just Bagels streamline the process about finding more customers by showing open data like bus stops for the express bus who might be coming into the store. Our goal is to show that technology does not have to be scary! It helps you to be more competitive.
How do you help people understand open data and get the information they need from it?
Those who haven’t worked with data don’t know where to begin, so it’s great to make it as simple to understand as possible – making it visual, not just a spreadsheet with thousands of cells. People like to see that information is actually find-able and searchable – I let people know they don’t need a consultant to get to these conclusions. We want to put the user in control, and that user does not have to be a business analyst.
What potential do you see for open data?
I want to see greater use of predictive analysis and trends from open data. It’d be great to understand the risk profile of a neighborhood based on its hyper-local data. I want to look at how data can tell the story of a neighborhood’s ambiance. I’m curious - where people are going, who clusters, where, how?
I’m also interested in information not just in the present, but the big picture over time. For example, I’d like to go from “Here’s the best exit on the R train at this time” to “Here’s the more meaningful picture about mass transit. And why we need more options here on Staten Island.” Or, from “What’s this restaurant’s health grade” to “What’s the health grade of restaurants over time in these areas?”
The photo above is of Aileen Gemma Smith.
To view additional data visualizations provided by Aileen, visit DoITT’s Flickr
In this dense, bustling city, people depend on mass transit every day, sometimes in different modes, and often multiple times daily.
As part of the one-year anniversary of the NYC Open Data Law – Local Law 11 of 2012 – we’re profiling users of NYC Open Data. Our first profile looks at Roadify, a data platform and free iPhone application connecting users with real-time transit info and updates.
Roadify was the Grand Prize winner in the NYC BigApps 2.0 competition in 2010, and alerts users to the latest subway, bus, or driving conditions by using official transit data and real-time updates from commuters. They help answer a basic, vital question posed by millions of commuters daily: “When is my bus/train/subway, etc. coming? And if it’s late, why?”
Roadify gathers open transit data (including Staten Island Ferry and MTA data) from more than 60 transit agency sources across the United States and Canada, as well as from riders via Twitter and the Smartphone app. This data is:
Official structured transit agency data is typically in the Google GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) format for schedules and real-time arrival information, while unstructured service advisories can be in XML or RSS feeds or via Twitter. Roadify also monitors Twitter to curate comments from riders and agencies about specific transit systems and individual lines, along with user comments provided via the Roadify iPhone app.
Roadify aggregates this information on its own platform and packages the content for hyper-local, real-time distribution to customers via XML feed. Roadify’s digital signage customers can opt to design their own displays for the data feed or use a localized Flash or HTML display in broadcast-ready or interactive mode. Roadify provides transit information on large screens at locations other than transit stations – including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, “City 24x7” kiosks and the Philadelphia Convention Center.
“All this complexity under the hood is about making it easy for riders to find out what’s going on,” said Roadify CEO Scott Kolber. “If people know when their ride is coming, they’re more likely to use mass transit – and that’s good for riders and cities.”
Watch the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s “Make it Here” profile of Roadify
The forth annual NYC BigApps competition launched tonight at the New York Tech Meetup. The annual contest encourages software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using official City data.
More than 1,000 data sets are available on the City’s Open Data portal from 60+ City agencies, commissions, and Business Improvements Districts.
Winning applications will receive cash prizes totaling $150,000 and the opportunity to earn follow-on funding for future app improvements. Over the course of the previous 3 competitions, nearly 240 new apps were created.
This year’s contest focuses on working together to solve specific New York City challenges, known as BigIssues (Jobs and Workforce Mobility, Healthy Living, Lifelong Learning, and Cleanweb: Energy, Environment, and Resilience). The best app in each of the 4 focus areas will win a substantial prize, and be eligible for the NYC BigApps 2013 Grand Prize.
The 2013 judging panel includes:
Entries are due by 5pm on June 7th, 2013.
Learn more: www.NYCBigApps.com
NYC BigApps Is Coming Soon
Move over Samsung – The Next Big Thing is almost here. We are working with CollabFinder to bring the biggest, boldest, and best BigApps ever! While we can’t divulge our secrets yet, yesterday we gave a sneak peek at Social Media Week event: “We Built this City: The State of Civic Technology, with Code for America and IDEO.”
Entering its fourth year, the NYC BigApps competition promotes government transparency and innovative new technologies by challenging mobile and web developers to create cool, free apps for New Yorkers using City data.
Get involved: Sign up now at www.nycbigapps.com to be the first to know about any updates on New York City’s ultimate open data software challenge. Trust us – you don’t want to miss a thing.