This morning, the NYC Digital Tumblr featured a big, bold link to NYC Open Data, advertising a catalog that “offers access to a repository of government-produced, machine-readable data sets.” Given the city’s penchant for exposing this data, we wondered if this catalog was new.
“It is new – it’s a big deal for us,” replied the city’s chief digital officer Rachel Sterne. “First time we have API- enabled data, which has long been a goal.”
In response to the announcement, entrepreneur and investor Mark Birch wrote, “The age of open sourcing government is upon us and it starts with open access to data.”
This catalog sounds like the same initiative Ms. Sterne mentioned in a recent interview with O’Reilly Media discussing the vision for “city as a platform” and how open open government could transform New York.
Sterne highlighted the most important open data initiative that the city has pursued to date, the NYC DataMine. Soon, she said, they will be introducing “NYC Platform,” which she described as “the city’s API.” All of their work opening the data, however, “doesn’t matter if we’re not evangelizing it and making sure people are using it.”
Good thing Mayor Bloomberg launched the Big Apps 3.0 contest during his surprise NYTM visit last night. That guarantees the API at least some action. But it’s time to get handsy with the data, guys.