When you’re launching a data service, key questions:

  • Is Google or other big guys already building apps that consume this data? If so, how do they want it?
  • Are there other cities that provide similar apps? What data formats do they use?
  • Dan O’Neill: data still balkanized. e.g. NY building permits in excel more frequently updated than the xml feed from bigapps
  • ACTION: Everyblock to work on standards doc: Class A data feed looks like this: frequency, semantics, normalities; if you can’t do that, class B looks like this


Identify Data Structures

  • Standardized content
  • Metadata - in human readable format
  • Need contact info associated with the feed
  • Data Types
    • Crime
    • Transit
    • Restaurant inspections
    • Building permits
    • Street (potholes, street obstructions) - private company obstructions not covered by 311 requests - 311 associated only with labor on the city side
    • Legislative testimony, transcripts
    • Parking
    • Tax assessments
    • Demographic data
    • Statistical transit data
    • Basemap/geocoding WGS84, KML
    • Parks - what sports fields
    • Calendars - event schedules - need better calendaring systems. “Outside.in has its act together here”
    • Business Licenses
    • Employee directory/org charts
  • Missing: Feedback loops: was 311 fixed to your satisfaction?
  • Craigslist a good source for many fundamental datasets (eg waste that isn’t really waste); Freecycle

Leverage existing Tools

  • Meetup
  • Twitter - Best practices
  • Twitter API should be cloned by 311
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Wordpress, Tumblr on-demand info
  • Gowalla
  • Yelp - now doing check-ins - idea to get women/minority owned data in there
  • Foursquare
  • OpenTable?
  • Craigslist
  • Localdirt, Farmsreach, JustFood in NY to bring fresh food into urban food deserts
  • Walkscore - get more data sets in there
  • What are the best practices and tools for API management? mashery? sonoa?
  • Tools for metrics, measuring engagement
  • FrontlineSMS http://www.frontlinesms.com/, also tools like http://www.textmarks.com/ for group SMS, freejam, forinfo
  • Google Voice - what are good examples of voice integration?
  • Dashboards - GoodData (cloud analytics), Intuit Quickbase
  • Amazon Web Services
  • VMWare
  • UserVoice

What would make city IT more efficient? How do we think about improving city workflow?

  • versioning of datasets
  • interface to systems like Hastis from the new stuff
  • Ward Cunningham’s Visible Workings

What does the well-formed future look like? What’s the greater vision?


  • Listing of data standards
    • Recommended
    • Style/Principles
    • Frequency/semantics/normalities
    • Manage need/want
    • Include narrative
  • Tools that are compliant
  • Tools that munis can use for specific tools
  • Push Craig to better engage muni services
  • If you adopt X, you’ll get Y stories: city, IT dept, developer, end-user
    • like the way citygoround shows value of GTFS