New York? There's an App for That

Yeah, yeah, yeah: The whole "there's an app for that" thing is tired.

But sometimes, you just have to use it. Reports the New York Times:

New York City is rolling out the next phase of its NYC Big Apps competition, an initiative that will supply local programmers and developers with a stockpile of raw municipal data sets to build applications for the Web and mobile phones.

Contestants will have access to more than 170 data sets supplied by over 30 city agencies, including weekly traffic updates, schedules of citywide events, property sales, restaurant inspections and mappable data around school and voting districts.

“Crowdsourcing is a very hot topic in the Gov 2.0 space right now,” said Kristy Sundjaja, vice president of media, green, and emerging technology at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is co-sponsoring the competition.

Tapping into local talent and encouraging online collaboration as a way to foster innovation has been a hot method as of late, from the Netflix prize that challenged researchers to improve the company’s movie-matching algorithms to cities like San Francisco, that have also opened vast stores of data for citizen innovation.

“What’s distinct in New York is the amount of data we’re releasing and that we already have a very impressive developer community here,” said Ms. Sundjaja. “In terms of scale and magnitude, this is one of the largest competitions that any city has put together.”

I love it; I'd like to see an augmented reality app that tells you where to find public restrooms in New York, with real-time ratings of their cleanliness.

In other Gov 2.0 news: The new governmentattic.org "provides electronic copies of hundreds of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act"--and it's all fully searchable. "Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here." 

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