NYC Open Data Announces Winners of 1st Annual Citywide Competition

Awards given for the City’s most compelling civic projects built using one or more of the City’s 2,000+ Open Data sets

NEW YORK—The NYC Open Data team today announced four first place winners of the NYC Open Data Project Gallery Contest, chosen from dozens of entries that reflect the diversity of ways the 2,000 public datasets on NYC Open Data are used by New Yorkers and others around the world. Judges from the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, OpenLaw, The NY Tech Alliance, The Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI) at Pratt Institute, and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications named the following four first place winners:

Data Science Award
For the most compelling data analysis using at least one dataset from NYC Open Data
WINNER: Plan(t)wise: planning a green canopy over the Big Apple
Submitted by Niki Athanasiadou.

“City trees only survive for a small fraction of their natural lifespan in the wild. As a lot of effort and money is spent annually by the City of New York to maintain its urban forest, my app advises on the trees with the best survival record in any NYC address entered by the user. My goal was to create an algorithm that determines—based on historical data—which tree species have the best survival record in specific New York City locations.”

Most Creative Award
For the most compelling visual analysis using at least one dataset from NYC Open Data
WINNER: An Interactive Visualization of Street Trees
Submitted by Allen Yee of cloudred.

“Using data provided by NYC Open Data, this visualization shows the variety and quantity of street trees in all five New York City boroughs. We were curious to see what some of the common and less common trees planted in the five boroughs of New York City. While this visualizes trees which we personally love as an essential element of any urban city, we see this as an experiment or model to visualize other datasets in an additive/subtractive format.”

Mayor’s Civics Award
For the project that best facilitates engaging in civil society and uses at least one dataset from NYC Open Data
Submitted by Bitsy Bentley & Hadassah Damien of Participatory Budgeting Project’s Participation Lab:  

Open Data Award
For the project that had the highest overall rating and uses at least two datasets from NYC Open Data
Submitted by Bitsy Bentley & Hadassah Damien of Participatory Budgeting Project’s Participation Lab:  

“The Participatory Budgeting Project uses a democratic process to help community members decide how to spend public money. This past April PBNYC completed its 7th cycle of voting to fund projects in 60% of the Districts across the City, spending about $30 million tax dollars in the process. During vote week, lots of folks asked about the impact of PB in their community. Our Participation Lab team developed in direct response to participants asking what happened to the projects they’d voted to fund. This civic tool also supports the challenges faced by folks when working together to decide how to spend part of a public budget.”

“I am thrilled to see our city’s public data being put to such creative, thoughtful, and groundbreaking use. Congratulations to the winners and all participants for making a real civic contribution leveraging NYC Data,” said Samir Saini, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “Open data is a powerful tool that fosters civic innovation, and I hope that more New Yorkers will be inspired to tap into the portal and see all that it has to offer.”

“We are excited that New Yorkers are finding new and innovative ways to use the thousands of datasets available on Open Data,” said Emily W. Newman, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “These projects highlight diverse insights and applications, and show what government transparency makes possible.”

“Receiving 30+ submissions from the NYC Open Data user community through this first-time contest was inspiring for the Open Data Team and our panel of judges,” said Adrienne Schmoeker, Director of Civic Engagement & Strategy at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. “Having many of these projects on the NYC Open Data website's new Project Gallery will serve as inspiration for other users, New Yorkers and City agencies on what can be done with NYC Open Data.”

The contest launched in March during Open Data Week 2018, a weeklong festival that gathered nearly 2,000 New Yorkers at more than 30 events to celebrate the public data available on the NYC Open Data platform. Winning projects, and other qualified projects, will be featured on the new Open Data Project Gallery at Winners will also receive a Certificate of Recognition from the Mayor and first place projects will be invited to present at an upcoming NYC Open Data event.

Second and third place winners in various award categories included:

“It was such a pleasure to be invited to judge the submissions for the NYC Open Data Project Gallery Contest. Getting to read about and see first-hand all of the creative and insightful uses of the datasets on NYC Open Data was absolutely inspiring,” said Andy Saldana, the Director of Operations for the NY Tech Alliance and contest judge. “From tree species to taxi cabs, it amazed me to see how much data NYC makes available to its citizens and the phenomenal ways companies, entrepreneurs, and regular citizens are being encouraged to engage with it. The results were phenomenal representations of how this data can be used by and for its citizens.”

“The projects in the Open Data challenge show what can come from a government making its data public,” said Tyler Woods, Operations and Community Manager at OpenLaw and contest judge. “All of the dozens of submitted projects, and especially the winners, took these data sets and turned them into super interesting and informative multimedia projects. Any resident who checks them out will come away more informed about the city around them. That’s not a trivial outcome for a city as big, busy and complicated as New York City.”

“New York City residents decide together and vote on how to spend $30 million taxpayer dollars on community projects in PBNYC - of course they want to know how those projects are coming along!” said Hadassah Damien, Director of Data & Technology, Participatory Budgeting Project and 1st place winner for the Mayor's Civics Award and Open Data Award. “We developed the website using two NYC Open Data sets created by City Council to provide that information in an accessible way. The availability of Open Data is a crucial factor in our ability to transparently inform our fellow New Yorkers.”

“I built in direct response to people asking about the 700+ projects they'd voted to fund in their communities using PBNYC,” said Bitsy Bentley, myPB Product Manager, Participatory Budgeting Project and 1st place winner of the Mayor's Civics Award and Open Data Award. “Thanks to NYC Open Data, this website supports New Yorkers to equitably spend public budget -- plus, I use it to train New Yorkers on data literacy!”

“Big data can be a driving force for good by helping cities better meet the needs of tomorrow.  NYC Mayor’s Office for Data Analytics and the NYC Open Data initiative are enabling solutions to existing problems by making valuable data publicly available,” said Niki Athanasiadou, MRes, PhD and 1st place winner for the Data Science Award. “I will continue using NYC Open Data for my current research at NYU School of Medicine, in collaboration with NYU Courant—which aims to understand the determinants of good health in urban populations, and use data to develop decision metrics that help improve public health outcomes.”

“I am a tree geek and I also love creating delightful digital interfaces. When I found the street tree data on the NYC Open Data Portal, I immediately saw the potential for an interface that would allow us to creatively engage with the data and understand the diversity of street trees in NYC,” said Allen Yee, Creative Partner at cloudred and 1stplace winner for the Most Creative Award.

“Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 NYC Open Data Project Gallery Contest. We are delighted to see the NYC Open Data platform and the Project Gallery accelerating social innovation in New York. Fahrenheit 212 is proud to be associated with this initiative. Data and insights are the fuel that drives innovation, and it is this belief that guided Fahrenheit 212’s innovation in the summer of 2017 to create the NYC Open Data Gallery to help make the city’s Open Data platform more accessible and engaging to the public,” said Todd Rovak, CEO of Fahrenheit-212, a global innovation consulting firm, based in New York.

NYC Open Data is an opportunity to engage New Yorkers in the information that is produced and used by City government. The platform hosts more than 2,000 data assets that are regularly used by entrepreneurs, students, nonprofits, journalists, city staff and others. Each week, more than 20,000 users visit the platform at The NYC Open Data program started in 2010 and was strengthened by the NYC Open Data Law (Local Law 11 of 2012), and a series of additional amendments which mandate that City agencies publish all public data on The Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) partner to form the Open Data team.

For more information, contact Adrienne Schmoeker at the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics at


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