So Zillow, Accela and several other partners and local governments including Tampa, San Diego and Chattanooga have developed a common standard all cities can use to publish data about building and construction permits. The concept has important precedent: Google helped coax cities to standardize their transit data so you can track bus and train routes on Google Maps. Yelp has tried to do the same with municipal restaurant inspection data so you can see health scores when you’re scouting dinner.
Building permit data similarly has the potential to change how consumers, researchers and cities themselves understand the built world around us. Imagine, to give another example, if an app revealed that the loud construction site in your neighbor’s back yard had no permits attached to it. What if you could click one link and tell the city that, speeding up the bureaucracy around illegal construction? …(More)”