New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Mapping Transparency Legislation Introduced in City Council by Kallos, Vacca, Lander, Rodriguez


Mapping Transparency Legislation Introduced in City Council by Kallos, Vacca, Lander, Rodriguez


New York, NY – The City Council today introduced two mapping transparency bills to make government information more meaningful by tying it to space and time.


Int. 364, “OpenMaps,” introduced by Kallos and Vacca, mandates that data sets behind government maps, like those at NYCityMap ( become open and shareable so residents, civic hackers and developers can create apps to help:


  • Drivers find off-street parking at garages and lots;
  • Bicyclists find CityRacks and bicycle parking shelters;
  • Residents find free access to broadband and wi-fi; and
  • New Yorkers access government services of all kinds, including youth, aging, health, parks, cultural, and education services.


Int. 362, “Open GIS,” introduced by Kallos, Rodriguez and Lander, creates a new level of specificity for NYC Crime Map (, including the exact location of the incident using GPS coordinates along with date and time for every violation, crime and arrest. Current forms only record nearest intersection or street address, leaving the public without the specific corner or crosswalk on a street or pathway within a park where incidents or collisions occurred. The legislation will empower the NYPD, DOT and safety advocates in the public with the knowledge to address safety concerns with the precision necessary to prevent future incidents, in line with the mission of Vision Zero.


“Our mobile phones have been GPS-enabled for years and now it’s for our city services to be location aware too,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer and Chair of the New York City Council Governmental Operations Committee.  “Opening up our government’s geographic data will protect New Yorkers by better identifying dangerous traffic sites and create jobs by making it easier for developers to build the apps that help us navigate our city. These bills will help us map our way to better New York.”


“Making this data available to the public will allow for the development of new, useful technologies that will improve the daily lives of New Yorkers. We have barely seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this data could be used for, and I look forward to seeing what tools will be created,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Committee on Technology.


"Making city data accessible to our most creative and tech savvy New Yorkers can have tremendous benefits for our city," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "With open crime data, parking data, parks and events info and more, it will be easy to measure, track or locate what is most important to New Yorkers from your phone. We're moving our city into the 21st century and I'm proud to be a part of this with Ben Kallos and my forward thinking colleagues,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation.


“This bill will be a great step forward to increase transparency and collaboration between government and citizens.  New York is lucky to have a community of 'civic hackers' who develop ingenious tools that help us all better understand problems in our neighborhoods and work together with our fellow residents and city government to devise solutions, or simply learn about a government service, and this legislation would further unlock that potential,” said Council Member Brad Lander, Chair of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections.


"We thank Council Members Kallos, Lander, Vacca and Rodriguez for introducing these important mapping transparency bills," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "Making more traffic data available to the public will make it possible for New Yorkers to develop new and better approaches to street safety, and that will bring the city closer to achieving Vision Zero, Mayor de Blasio's goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024."


"No one knows a city better than the people who call it home," said Ken Podziba, President/CEO of the nonprofit education and advocacy group Bike New York. "Now New Yorkers will be able to share their knowledge and put it to work to make New York City the best it can be."


"City government's online maps need to enter the open data era. Tax dollars have paid for city map data on firehouses, schools, hospitals and police precincts, and that data should be free and easy for the public to use," said John Kaehny, Co-chair of the NYC Transparency Working Group and Executive Director of Reinvent Albany.


"Allowing the public to access the information behind New York City maps would enable the creation of better, more useful and more transparent maps. The transparent mapping legislation being introduced in the City Council will give rise to a safer and more effective New York City," said Bill Samuels, Founder of EffectiveNY.


"The New York City community has repeatedly asked for open geographical data. The Sunlight Foundation commends the New York City Council's commitment to listening to constituents' calls for information access by proactively releasing GIS data and underlying map data," said Emily Shaw, National Policy Manager for the Sunlight Foundation.


"The OpenMaps Bill and Open GIS bills will strengthen our open data law. They ensure citizens can be active participants in the planning of local developments and execution of public safety. These two bills will ensure New York city's Open Data law continues to be the gold standard. By releasing a complete spectrum of mapped public safety data, New York will single-handedly redefine how community policing and public safety data will work hand-in-hand for the 21st century.


“New York city is blessed with a rich heritage of cartographers and data collectors. Data geeks and history buffs share a passion for looking at a map and seeing data visualized. As the city has produced open data, more and more communities are using these maps to make local decisions. The adoption of these two bill will make New York city a mappers paradise.


“By passing the OpenMaps Bill, we solidify the city's open data law. This bill will ensure that the complicated nature of aligning all of the City's map points is not wastefully duplicated by the public. Together, public and private interests will build better maps than either one could build independently. 


“With the introduction of Open GIS, the Council pinpoints New York city government in the 21st century. With clear privacy protections, the Open GIS bill will ensure that New York city leads the way in open data and public safety. This bill would make New York city one of a handful of cities to releases a wide variety of public safety data with specific date, time, and location. Additionally, this bill would make New York city the first in the nation to release a complete picture of public safety data," said Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director of Beta NYC.


"Improving the types of geographical information available, and ensuring that developers and the public are better able to track collisions, will contribute to our City's collective goal of reaching Vision Zero. More specific information and ways of visualizing that information will contribute to a safer city for everyone, whether traveling by foot, bike, bus, or car," said A. Scott Falk, Chair of the Transportation Policy Committee for the Office of Council Member Ben Kallos.


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