Bloomberg signs NYC 'Open Data Policy' into law, plans web portal for 2018

Joe Pollicino
J. Pollicino|03.12.12

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Bloomberg signs NYC 'Open Data Policy' into law, plans web portal for 2018
Live in Manhattan and wish that your local government would be more transparent about its data and make it more easily accessible? Well, consider the request granted by a little bill dubbed as Introductory Number 29-A, which Mayor Bloomberg signed into law this past week. Apparently following in the steps of the White House's Data.Gov initiative, the legislation lays out three ways the city will be "jumpstarting a comprehensive citywide open data policy." The Department of Information Technology Telecommunications will be in charge of of creating a technical standards manual and posting it online to begin, serving as guide for the city's agencies on how to handle and list any data that's considered public domain. Bloomberg also has his eyes on developers, as part two involves getting any info stored online in "locked formats" released over the next year so that it can be used for creating applications. As InformationWeek points out, this is something the city has been fond of, as showcased by its ongoing BigApps program. The third task will require the DoITT to make compliance plans with all of the city's agencies to help them list all of their public data, with the end goal of listing it to "a single web portal by 2018." Want to hear it from the man himself? Make your way to the press release just past the break.

[Photo credit: NYC.Gov]
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Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The next bill before me is Introductory Number 29-A, sponsored by Council Members Brewer, Fidler, Gentile, Gonzalez, James, Lander, Palma, Nelson, Lappin, Dromm, Garodnick, Reyna, Mealy, Vann, Jackson, Levin, Cabrera, Gennaro, Williams, Van Bramer, Rodriguez, Halloran and the Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. When enacted, this bill will be the most ambitious and comprehensive open data legislation in the country.

"If we're going to continue leading the country in innovation and transparency, we're going to have to make sure that all New Yorkers have access to the data that drives our City. Across City government, agencies use data to develop policy, implement programs, and track performance - and each month, our Administration shares more and more of this data with the public at large, catalyzing the creativity, intellect, and enterprising spirit of computer programmers to build tools that help us all improve our lives.

"The NYC BigApps competition, now in its third iteration, has brought about dozens of such programs - helping New Yorkers do everything from pick a restaurant to find a parking space. At the contest's core is a simple premise: this data belongs to the public, and if we make it accessible to everyone, the possibilities are limitless. That's exactly the purpose of the bill before me today.

"Introductory Number 29-A consists of three important steps, each of which is critical to jumpstarting a comprehensive Citywide open data policy. First, the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications must post on its web site a technical standards manual, which will help agencies make their public data available to the greatest number of users and for the greatest number of applications.

"Second, within a year, each agency must convert all of their public data sets that are currently online in "locked" formats into formats that enable computer programmers to use the data to build applications. Finally, within eighteen months, DoITT will work with each agency to post a compliance plan, describing all of the public data sets in each agency's possession. The plan will be then be updated each year, and will serve as a roadmap for agencies to post these datasets to a single web portal by 2018.

"I would like to thank Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post, Counselor to the Mayor Anthony Crowell, and the staff in all of their offices for their work on this bill along with Katherine Winningham, Senior Counsel at the Law Department and Eric Munson in my Office of City Legislative Affairs. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation."
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