A Visual Guide To New York City's Massive Data Trove

NYC Open Data

Chris Whong

Nearly all the documents you could want (and also not want) about New York, in one handy map

The NYC Open Data initiative has dumped a ton of New York public records–school test scores, court districts, even laundromat maps–on one website. But the site is not exactly what you’d call “explorable.” A “Showing 10 of 2118” pages, with a next button nearby, looms large on the bottom of the site.

Enter designer Chris Whong, who created a parallel site that serves as a visual guide to all that open data. Whong’s site presents assorted branches that break down the data into categories, all viewable on a single page. So hover around the “Social Services” branch, and you’ll see dots representing data for homelessness, high school graduation help centers, and more. Here’s a close-up:

Click on one of the dots, and it’ll take you to the data source on New York’s government site. The symbols on the dots represent how the data is tabulated–whether it’s a table, map, or something else.

It’s still nearly overwhelming (so many dots!) but at least it makes the absolutely monstrous amount of data viewable at a glance. Which is good, since if you look at the visualization for long enough, you’ll occasionally find a gem, like this not surprisingly thin map of parking spots in the city.

Check out the full visualization here.


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