Rats! Open Data Tells New York City Residents Where The Vermin Are - And Aren’t

Phil Johnson | IT World | January 22, 2014

The Big Apple’s Rat Information Portal is an early example of a government using open data in a creative way

As I written before, many governments these days, all over the world, are implementing open data initiatives to make data that they collect freely available in machine readable formats. I'm always interested in hearing about such initiatives and, in particular, about interesting open data sets that are being made available to the public. This week I found one that should be of interest to anyone living on the Big Apple: the New York City Health Department's Rat Information Portal.

The portal, actually, isn't a new initiative. It was launched way back in 2008, but it's new to me; I recently saw it mentioned by the Sunlight Foundation. Even though it's old news to some, I thought it might be news to others of you, as well, who are interested in this sort of thing (yes, I'm talking to you, David Letterman).

The point of the portal is to provide educational information for everybody (residents, landlords, businesses, etc.) about what attracts rats, signs of rat infestations, how to report rats to city health inspectors and so on. [...]