Today I did the Hack The CTA presentation at ORDCamp with Harper Reed.
Today Harper Reed and I did a session on data hawking at CityCamp. Fun stuff.
Here’s a great article by Micah Sifry that has a pretty long take on Chicago Works For You:www.cjr.org/feature/a_see-through_society.php?page=all
People are eager for access to information, and public officials who try to stand in the way will discover that the Internet responds to information suppression by routing around the problem. Consider the story of a site you’ve never seen, ChicagoWorksForYou.com. In June 2005, a team of Web developers working for the city of Chicago began developing a site that would take the fifty-five different kinds of service requests that flow into the city’s 311 database—items like pothole repairs, tree-trimming, garbage-can placement, building permits, and restaurant inspections—and enable users to search by address and “map what’s happening in your neighborhood.” The idea was to showcase city services at the local level.
ChicagoWorks was finished in January 2006, with the support of Mayor Richard Daley’s office. But it also needed to be reviewed by the city’s aldermen and, according to a source who worked on the project, “they were very impressed with its functionality, but they were shocked at the possibility that it would go public.” Elections were coming up, and even if the site showed 90 percent of potholes being filled within thirty days, the powers-that-be didn’t want the public to know about the last 10 percent. ChicagoWorksForYou.com was shelved.
My investigations led to fixing an error in the publication of King County restaurant data.
I spoke with Hilary Karasz — her tech guy, Mark, fixed the error in the publication of their data.They are once again publishing violation information on their site.It also appears that they have gone back and re-published to records during the time period where violation data was missing.I think that the fix now on our end is to rescrape back to November 1 or so.
Some links for fact-checking:
* Here’s the TAQUERIA EL MAGUEY record that sparked our inquiry: http://www.decadeonline.com/insp.phtml?agency=skc&forceresults=1&record_id=PR0077496* It now has violation data in there– wasn’t there before, as reflected by our record of the inspection: http://seattle.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/by-date/2008/12/31/588057/* They fixed the system, and our scraper picked up the fix, as seen in this link from an inspection this week: http://seattle.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/by-date/2009/1/5/592332/
More backup info, below, but if we point our taser to the past, we should heal ourselves.
- Charlotte Restaurant inspections (http://charlotte.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/): we obtain this information on a nightly basis via a direct data feed
- Chicago Restaurant inspections (http://chicago.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/): we obtain this data via a direct query to the City’s Web-based system (http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/health/inspection.jsp)
- New York City Restaurant inspections (http://nyc.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/): we obtain this data via a direct query to the City’s Web-based system (http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/rii/index.shtml)
- Philadelphia Restaurant inspections (http://philly.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/)
- San Francisco Building permits (http://sf.everyblock.com/restaurant-inspections/): we obtain this data via a database dump placed on an FTP site on a regular basis by the San Francisco Department of Health
As you can see, we can work with whatever format you have and pretty much any retrieval method that makes sense for you. If it is better for you that we obtain the records from the public system, that works for us. Let me know what you think — we’re looking forward to working with you!–Daniel X. O’Neil
Today I participated in an advisory group.10-20 uploads per day, and 10-20% gets on the air.The best insight I can give is about metadata. Make their content ubiquitous.