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What’s New in Civic Tech: New York City Releases Its Annual Data Report

Plus, NYC’s chief technology officer releases guide for civic tech challenges: Cincinnati Data and Analytics Office partners with police on daily stats report; and Code for America brigades collaborate on Hurricane Florence response

by / September 20, 2018

New York City has released its annual open data report, including 600 new data sets from across 38 city agencies, the city announced in a press release.

The Open Data for All Report 2018 is available online now, and in addition to the new data sets, the city also noted that “this year pulls back the curtain on digital government to show how the city collects data, how data powers city operations, and how publishing that data publicly creates value in communities across the five boroughs.”

A brief list of the data sets that are new for this year is below, culled directly from New York’s press release:

  • Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) data sets on Rooftop Drinking Water Tank Inspections, Dog Licenses and MenuStat (an online database of nutrition and menu information from top national restaurant chains)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) street furniture location information, including bus stop shelters, bike parking shelters, newsstands, and parking meters
  • A series of data tables from a relational database on Housing Development Projects Receiving City Financial Assistance (Local Law 44) from the Department of Housing Preservation & Development
  • 2017 Intimate Partner Violence Related Snapshots at the NYC community board-level from the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) (formerly known as the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV))
  • The NYCgov Poverty Measure from 2005-2016, published by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity

There’s also a storytelling component to this report, which is something that is increasingly of concern as government data folks seek to spread awareness about their work and its value. This year’s report in NYC features a series of vignettes looking at how open data powers government efficiency within city agencies. It also promises that an additional 400 new data sets will be added to the open data plan soon.

NYC’s Chief Technology Officer Releases Guide for Civic Tech Challenges

In other New York City news this week, the chief technology officer there released a how-to guide for creating civic tech challenges.

Partnering with Cornell Tech, the city created and released NYCx Moonshot Launchpad, which is a free downloadable guide aimed at instructing readers about how to address challenges faced by the public sector via what it called moonshot challenges, noting that likely beneficiaries include city agencies, community groups, partners in the private sector and other stakeholders.

This all stems from that jurisdiction’s own NYCx Moonshot Challenge, which invites participants from across the globe to partner with the city in the development and testing of solutions for pressing urban problems in ways that stand to improve community and quality of life. This guide comes after the city has twice successfully run its own challenge events, the city said in a press release.

“The NYCx Moonshot Launchpad was born from collaboration with New York City agencies, entrepreneurs and tech industry partners wanting to work together to solve urban challenges,” Jeremy M. Goldberg, deputy CTO of NYCx and managing director of NYC Digital, said in a press release. “The Launchpad is derived from the development of our first two challenges focused on Connectivity and Climate Action — from mapping the problem to defining an outcome. Now, this resource is available to any organization or government agency seeking to pursue their own Moonshot and serve the public realm.”

Cincinnati Data and Analytics Office Partners with Police on Daily Online Stats Report

Daily online police statistics reports are somewhat of a rarity, even in this age of increasingly open municipal data. But Cincinnati recently partnered with the police department to get it done.

Through the city’s CincyInsights portal, residents there can browse crime statistics that are updated daily, using the functionality to search by neighborhood or by any number of other fields. Info on these reports, include the types, locations and the frequency of crimes. The platform also allows users to look backward at past statistics, to get a sense of the frequency of incidents over time.

This functionality is yet another step in Cincinnati’s robust and ongoing work with open data.

Code for America Brigades Collaborate on Hurricane Florence Response

As Hurricane Florence beset the Carolinas this week, a number of Code for America brigades across the country banded together to collaborate on, which hosts an active crowdsourced shelter map as well as links to other useful resources.

Other resources include information about the nearest public food and supply distribution points, links to FEMA, a donation button and more. There’s also a functionality for rumor control, which is always a challenge during natural disasters that warrant evacuating homes.

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Zack Quaintance Assistant News Editor

Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas. He is now based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached via email.

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