NYC City Council Passes Open Data Access Bills


The New York City Council has approved a package of bills aimed at standardizing open data policies and procedures. Five bills in total were approved, and touch on how data is presented and when it is updated.

The first measure directs the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) to create standards about when and how to split up big, bulky data sets as archival and technical. Reds require. The second measure calls for the creation of a plain language dictionary to go along with each data set so that individuals can understand the often esoteric terminology employed throughout city government.

Bills three and four deal with timeline concerns and direct DoITT as well as individual departments to respond to open data requests within a two month window. Additionally, if a data set is updated, the fourth bill requires that update to carry through both the open data portal and the specific agency website that did the update. While seeming somewhat obvious, these requirements were not in place previously, leading to discrepancies in city data from website to website.

The open data response timeline is also notable because it requires DoITT to respond to the initial request for data within two weeks in order to direct the request to the appropriate department. That department then has two months to make a decision on whether and how to release the data. Few municipalities require such a quick timeline when responding to data requests.

The fifth measure creates a working group to set up s standard for displaying geospatial information including addresses in the same format throughout all data sets.

Bill information is available below:

Bill 1

Bill 2

Bill 3

Bill 4

Bill 5