Friday, December 3, 2010

Open Data Apps to Meet 311 Needs

I'm pleased to see that Toronto has opened some of the 311 data, even in a geographically skewed and small-sample-size form.

In particular, it's appealing to think that an application developer might come to know what kinds of requests are commonly fielded by 311, and find a better way to fill that need with a software application.It's interesting to see which topics get a lot of calls and the sheer volume of calls, considering that this is a small sample of the overall whole.

It's not clear exactly how small a subset this is of the whole, but with nearly 22,000 calls logged, it's pretty clear that 311 fields quite a lot of calls in a given month.It's not hard to see how even switching a smaller portion of these 311 calls to an automated reporting system with sufficiently high-quality data has the potential to save the city a lot of money (although certainly the automated system wouldn't be entirely free and there are other challenges there).

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