De Blasio Administration Releases Open Data for all, The City's New Open Data Plan

July 15, 2015

Strategy includes five-borough tour to make Open Data more accessible to all New Yorkers

Launch of ‘Data Lens’ tool makes data easier to visualize – even for those with no programming experience

NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today released Open Data for All, the annual update to the NYC Open Data Plan which this year is paired with a vision for engaging New Yorkers across the five boroughs in the City’s open data efforts through increased community partnership and interaction. Today’s plan was released by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations Mindy Tarlow, and Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki.

As required by Local Law 11 of 2012, each City entity must identify and ultimately publish all of its digital public data for citywide aggregation and publication by 2018. Every year on July 15, the NYC Open Data Plan provides an update of the City’s progress by listing pertinent City-managed public data sets yet to be published along with their anticipated publication dates.

This year, for the first time, Open Data for Allexpands the City’s focus to making data sets released through the Open Data Portal more accessible, useful, and user-friendly for all New Yorkers. While recognizing the importance of continuing to make new data available, this year’s Open Data Plan includes an introduction that outlines the City’s vision for ensuring that the availability of open data serves as an invitation to anyone, anywhere, anytime to engage with New York City. Beginning this summer, MODA and DoITT will be conducting a Citywide Engagement Tour – giving all New Yorkers opportunities to ask questions, provide feedback, and learn more about Open Data for All. This series of events will also be an opportunity for the City to collect feedback and use New Yorkers’ input to make its open data better and more accessible.

To complement this expanded focus on accessibility, the City is also launching a pilot implementation of Data Lens, an easy-to-use tool that produces several visualizations of certain data sets and requires no programming experience whatsoever – making it even easier for any New Yorker to understand the data available on the portal. With the click of a button, Data Lens will instantly render several visualizations of a data set and the various metrics it contains. The tool employs unique “cards,” or display formats, allowing users to more easily understand the insights behind the numbers. Data Lens will initially be available for five data sets: Universal Pre-k Locations, Restaurant Locations, NYC311 Service Requests, NYPD Motor Vehicle Collisions, and WiFi Hotspot Locations.

“Our city’s open data laws are already unprecedented in reach and scope – but Open Data for All marks the start of a new era. The Open Data Portal will now be a more collaborative, dynamic project that is more accessible for all New Yorkers, and the upcoming engagement tour will help us tailor the implementation of the Open Data Plan to the needs of people across the five boroughs.  All of this means it will be easier for people, even those with no programming experience – like myself – to find the information they want, and better ways to utilize that information,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Providing open data that is truly accessible to all will enhance and improvement government for everyone in New York City,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This next step in opening data to the public reflects this city’s commitment to transparency and openness. I thank the de Blasio administration for their continued partnership in making open data a reality and bringing New York fully into the 21st century.”

“New York City’s Open Data Law – the most comprehensive legislation of its kind in the country – was born of collaboration with the City Council and civic technology community; it will be taken to the next level by collaboration with all communities” said DoITT Commissioner Anne Roest. “City data belongs to the New Yorkers we serve, and hearing from them about how we can make it work better still is at the heart of our efforts. I thank Operations Director Tarlow and Chief Analytics Officer Mashariki for their partnership in shaping open data into Open Data for All.”

“Citywide initiatives like Vision Zero, UPK, Small Business First and OneNYC require citywide coordination. Open Data is a key tool for data-sharing between agencies, and can help us realize NYC’s on-going commitment to transparency and performance management,” said Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations Mindy Tarlow.

“Open Data is more than just releasing data.  It is ensuring that people – everyone – can use the data. We want Open Data to be a verb, not a noun,” said Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki. “MODA is looking forward to getting out and talking to New Yorkers.”

The 2015 NYC Open Data Plan, including the full list of data sets scheduled for release, can be accessed here or through the interactive dashboard on the NYC Open Data Portal. Data sets available for the Data Lens pilot can be found here.

Guiding the implementation of Open Data for All are the complementary notions that every New Yorker can benefit from open data, and that open data can benefit from the input of every New Yorker. The de Blasio administration is determined to make Open Data for All exactly that – an incredible tool and resource that is both accessible and useful for all New Yorkers.

To achieve this vision, the administration will be:

  • Talking and meeting with New Yorkers regularly. Similar to the Digital.NYC five-borough tour run earlier this year, MODA and DoITT will be conducting a Citywide Engagement Tour, culminating in an Open Data Summit this fall, to provide New Yorkers to offer suggestions and feedback about how the City’s Open Data initiative might work more effectively for all communities.
  • Making the Open Data Portal more dynamic. Previously, the Open Data Portal reflected each July 15 update and details of the available and forthcoming datasets did not change until the release of the next update. Now, the Portal will change monthly to reflect changes to the Plan, including data sets that have become available sooner than expected, and data sets that may have been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances – making the Portal more informative and helpful for New Yorkers. DoITT will also continue automating new and existing datasets to provide users with the most current information.
  • Improving and enhancing the tools available for accessing City datasets. The NYC Open Data Portal has been enhanced to provide Data Lens functionality and expanded to host larger datasets than ever before. Over the past year, DoITT has responded to feedback from New Yorkers by working to enhance NYC Open Data Portal’s search functionality and creating the ability to search or browse by specific City agency. Going forward, DoITT will continue to make the Portal easier to use, and add functionality to improve accessibility – particularly in response to users who express concerns or offer feedback.
  • Continuing to release new datasets and identify opportunities to provide data for all users. Every time a new data set is made available there is a new opportunity for engagement, insight, and improvement of City services. Pursuant to the City’s Open Data Plan, released as part of Open Data for All, New York will continue to be a national leader by adding at least 90 new data sets to the portal by the end 2015, and more than 250 overall by 2018. Over 1,350 data sets are now available on the NYC Open Data portal, the City’s centralized data repository, including nearly 170 new datasets added and more than 400 updated in the past year alone. An additional 88 data sets published during that time were not originally identified by City agencies, but have since been released as their plans were updated or refined.

Datasets available for the first time this year include:

  • Universal Pre-k Data – locations of facilities, number of seats available, website, and contact information
  • Workforce 1 Job Listings and Recruitment Events – listing of job openings and recruitment events
  • Civil List Data – salary information for all New York City employees
  • Green Book Online – searchable database including listings for New York City, county and State government organizations.

Datasets scheduled to be made available by the end of the year include:

  • TLC Trip Data – information on the millions of trips taken by New York City’s yellow taxis on an annual basis.
  • Annual Arts in School Report Data – data about arts teachers, arts budgeting, space for the arts, partnerships with arts and cultural organizations, and parent involvement
  • School Bus Delays and Breakdowns – daily list of bus delays and breakdowns
  • Daily School Attendance Data  – preliminary school-wide attendance data for all schools at 4:00 pm daily
  • City Record Online – the City Record Online is a fully-searchable database of procurement notices – bid solicitations and awards – from New York City agencies.

“I am excited to partner with my colleagues in government to bring in an era of unprecedented public engagement when it comes to Open Data,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of Committee on Technology. “Open Data affords New Yorkers with such a wealth of information, and users of all levels of technological expertise should be able to easily access it. This year’s Open Data Plan not only provides new information that New Yorkers care about, like UPK and taxi trip data, but the plan also includes a five-borough strategy to ensure that New Yorkers can use it in a meaningful way. I look forward to examining this plan closer with input from the public, and I thank the Administration for their continued commitment to Open Data.”

“New York City's Open Data Law continues to be the strongest open data legal policy ever adopted by a municipality. This year's update shows that NYC will continue to lead the nation in transparency and data-driven governance,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, sponsor of Local Law 11 of 2012, the NYC Open Data Law. “As we move toward Open Data 2.0, I look forward to working with stakeholders such as our Community Boards to offer training on open data utilization for local planning, and with the Mayor's Office and local leaders to ensure that the promise of Open Data is realized for all New Yorkers who can benefit from it.”

"Open data unlocks the potential of real civic change, which for years was inaccessible to everyday New Yorkers because they lacked the key to access critical information. By putting more government datasets in the public sphere, datasets that are up-to-date and easy to access, we increase transparency and engagement in a way that can lead to forward-thinking solutions and positive community activism,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I am a big believer in the power of open data to inform and be informed by my constituents, evidenced by its growing use on the relaunch of brooklyn-usa.org. I look forward to expanding my collaboration with the de Blasio administration on maximizing open data's utility for all Brooklynites, no matter how tech savvy they may be."

“Open Data for All is the next step towards a digitally inclusive city and an engaged citzenry. Having data for a few people to work with is good, but actively promoting it as useful to all New Yorkers is great,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am excited to see the information on crucial city initiatives like UPK and Vision Zero, as well as the City Record, which soon be fully online following the passage of my legislation. A smarter city is a city that works better for all New Yorkers, no matter neighborhood or background.”

“Cheers to Mayor de Blasio and DoITT for another step forward, and  understanding that open data – like Information Technology – is about continuously evolving in response to public feedback and new opportunities,” said John Kaehny, Co-Chair of NYC Transparency Working Group.

New York City’s Open Data Law – Local Law 11 of 2012 – requires City agencies to systematically categorize and make accessible in “open” formats their public data sets at no charge. Today’s announcement marks the second annual update, as required by the law, to the original NYC Open Data Plan issued in September 2013 and updated last July. The next annual update comes in July 2016, when the City will detail its progress since the 2015 report.

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