Revisioning NYC’s Open Data Portal

Posted: September 17, 2013 in seven in seven
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After spending a considerable amount of time on the NYC Open Data portal (Socrata) I started to consider how the website / application could move beyond it’s current state as a data repository and simplistic mapping application to become a tool for visualizing and analyzing the data it contains.  I’ve spent a considerable amount of time looking through a lot of data on this site, and even more time editing data so that it could be mapped / visualized.  What if users could contribute back edited data that is more user and analysis friendly? For example, a lot of this data contains addresses or even lat lon coordinates but often these elements are encoded in the data poorly making the data hard to geocode. If for example someone like myself could create an account, copy the data, then edit the data to make it more user-friendly, then upload it back to the site, a lot of time would be saved for future users down the road. Other users on the site could inspect the data and make corrections or flag it if it contained errors.

The image above is a prototype of what such an application might look like for NYC Open Data 2.0. A user could select from multiple data types and create overlays to draw connections such as mapping demographic data and grocery stores to determine areas of the city that might be considered food desserts.  The app would go further than visualization and actually analyze data; effectively giving the user statistical information and letting them know if there is significance such as correlation between datasets.  This is a first iteration and needs to be further developed and revised.


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