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New York's 311 Data Provides Window Into Complaints and Questions

311 In all my years living in New York, I utilized the City's all-purpose, non-emergency 311 system only once. Don't ask.

But I've always been a little fascinated by the concept. Seriously, anything I need, I can call you and you'll actually provide me with useful information/assistance or connect me to someone who can? I've wondered how many people bothered by the nuisances inherent in city life actually understand the distinction between a 911-worthy emergency and something that can be handled by 311. I would have loved to be the New York Times reporter who pulled this assignment back in May, sitting in as a 311 operator for a week.

So, when Stephen Abram, on his Lighthouse blog, posted a link to a lengthy Wired article all about what can be gleaned from mining 311 call data, I read it. And am now offering you the opportunity to do the same.

There's some interesting information on the volume of particular kinds of complaints by time of day -- who would have thought that illegal parking complaints peak at 7 a.m.? And the article paints a pretty impressive picture of the Brave New World on the horizon in terms of gathering, coordinating, making public and making use of, the kind of citizen-driven information that systems like 311 are designed to collect.

So if you're a city geek, or are just really bored while waiting to vote, give the article a read.

Posted by Eric Lipman on November 2, 2010 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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