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To Write Open Data Standards, New York Opens the Floor

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 18 2012

New York City's Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications has created a wiki for the public to help contribute to the implementation of the city's recently passed open data legislation.

While much of the law's specifications requiring the posting of local government data are not going to be enacted until 2013, or later, one of the law's provisions requires that DoITT establish citywide policies and technical standards for open data by September 4, 2012.

The wiki has several editable sections with initial definitions of terms used in the legislation and suggested policies and standards. The Definitions page, for example, details exactly what is meant by everything from data and data set to metadata and open standard.

According to the wiki, DoITT will also be hosting two events related to its open data plans during Internet Week. One will offer an introduction to the policies and technical standards, while the other will be a hack day with DoITT employees and the open government community.

The announcement comes after one of the key figures in the open data bill's creation, DoITT Commissioner Carole Post, announced her resignation Friday. According to reports in the New York Times, she had clashed with her boss, Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway, over the performance of several key city IT projects. Post will be taking up a position at New York Law School.

City officials say she's leaving due the quality of the job offer and deny that city leadership had lost confidence in her. A DoITT spokesman, Nicholas Sbordone, also disputed that the agency is off-track, pointing to publicly available performance statistics.

Last night, the city also announced the winners of its Big Apps competition, which encourages developers to develop applications using open city data. The top entry is an application called NYCFacets, which calls itself a "Smart Open Data Exchange" that provides a better interface for accessing city data, especially for non-developers. Other prizes went to an application that helps users find Wi-Fi hotspots, another that searches Pre-K and elementary school information, an application that helps subway riders plan commutes without Wi-Fi underground, while another alerts users on the street if they are passing a location from a famous film.

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