New York City ‘Open Data’ Paves Way for Innovative Technology

Leo Gringut at the International Policy Digest: “The philosophy behind “Open Data for All” turns on the idea that easy access to government data offers everyday New Yorkers the chance to grow and innovate: “Data is more than just numbers – it’s information that can create new opportunities and level the playing field for New Yorkers. It’s the illumination that changes frameworks, the insight that turns impenetrable issues into solvable problems.” Fundamentally, the newfound accessibility of City data is revolutionizing NYC business. According to Albert Webber, Program Manager for Open Data, City of New York, a key part of his job is “to engage the civic technology community that we have, which is very strong, very powerful in New York City.”

Fundamentally, Open Data is a game-changer for hundreds of New York companies, from startups to corporate giants, all of whom rely on data for their operations. The effect is set to be particularly profound in New York City’s most important economic sector: real estate. Seeking to transform the real estate and construction market in the City, valued at a record-setting $1 trillion in 2016, companies have been racing to develop tools that will harness the power of Open Data to streamline bureaucracy and management processes.

One such technology is the Citiscape app. Developed by a passionate team of real estate experts with more than 15 years of experience in the field, the app assembles data from the Department of Building and the Environmental Control Board into one easy-to-navigate interface. According to Citiscape Chief Operational Officer Olga Khaykina, the secret is in the app’s simplicity, which puts every aspect of project management at the user’s fingertips. “We made DOB and ECB just one tap away,” said Khaykina. “You’re one tap away from instant and accurate updates and alerts from the DOB that will keep you informed about any changes to ongoing project. One tap away from organized and cloud-saved projects, including accessible and coordinated interaction with all team members through our in-app messenger. And one tap away from uncovering technical information about any building in NYC, just by entering its address.” Gone are the days of continuously refreshing the DOB website in hopes of an update on a minor complaint or a status change regarding your project; Citiscape does the busywork so you can focus on your project.

The Citiscape team emphasized that, without access to Open Data, this project would have been impossible….(More)”.