PediaCites Testifies at New York City Council Hearing about Traffic Crash Data

PediaCities is built on open data. We were happy to join others from the civic hacking community in New York City to advocate for access to traffic crash data. Full testimony below.


Ontodia, Inc. testimony for INT NO 1163-2013


A Local Law to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to requiring the department of information technology and telecommunications to create and maintain an interactive website detailing traffic crash data.


Presented by Nathan Storey


My name is Nathan Storey and I am the Product Manager for PediaCities, an encyclopedia of city data that makes it easy to find information about topics or places, whether you are tech savvy or not. PediaCities, now available for free in New York City, is made by Ontodia, a local Made in NY startup and recent NYC BigApps Grand Prize winner that depends on NYC OpenData.


NYC established itself as a leader in Open Data innovation when City Council passed the landmark municipal Open Data Law – Local Law 11 of 2012. Just last month, Ontodia was honored to participate and host the press conference at the NYU-Poly Varick Incubator with the latest data release, expanding the revamped data portal to more than 1100 datasets, making NY the largest municipal open data portal in the US, if not the world.


NYC OpenData, which made many high value datasets freely accessible, has been absolutely essential to the success of PediaCities. Community groups use PediaCities to look up specific information about a neighborhood or political district they work in. For example, we provided the locations of vacant lots in a specific district, along with ownership information for these lots, and a demographics profile within a quarter-mile radius of each lot.


Many of our users would also like to access crime and traffic crash data aggregated for specific geographies. An interactive website with this data would be a good resource for many citizens, but we would like to also have the data in its raw form, ideally as an API feed. This data must be geographically identifiable, ideally with specific longitude and latitude values. We cannot predict all of the ways that users will want to aggregate crime and traffic crash data, so we want to have the data in a format that will allow us to present it in ways not originally foreseen. The PediaCities platform takes the best data we can find and presents it in the context of other high quality data, providing data profiles for neighborhoods, zip codes, community districts, and other geographies. We are currently unable to aggregate crime and traffic crash data except at the police precinct level. We are thrilled that this data will be made available on a more local level on a city run website, but we hope that it can also be provided in a manner so that private companies and civic hackers can fully utilize it. Thank you.



Nathan Storey

Product Manager



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