CHPC Senior Policy Analyst Neil Reilly participated in an event centered around the New York City Open Data Portal organized by the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) on Thursday, January 25, 2018. The event took place at the offices of Civic Hall in Manhattan.

This gathering, part of a series that MODA has put together to explore and promote the City’s open data initiative, focused on buildings. To that end, the event featured speakers from MODA as well as the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The speakers walked the audience–a crowd of over 200 individuals who work with technology to improve access to and performance of government services–through the work that their agencies are undertaking to improve the quality and completeness of the data they publish for public consumption, as well as the frequency of those publications.

Neil then joined representatives of DOB, HPD, and the NYU Furman Center on stage for a panel discussion of the creation, upkeep, and use of the Open Data Portal. The conversation focused primarily on two things: for the government agencies, the processes they use to maintain and improve the data they post on the portal; and for the non-profit researchers, how to best use the public data for their particular audiences.

Keeping data in context was a theme emerged through the presentation and panel discussion, including audience questions. Neil emphasized that, as users of the data that government agencies release, researchers like CHPC must be aware of the types, extent, and limitations of the data they use–and communicate that information to their audience when using data to analyze public policy or create interactive tools.

You can find video of the entire event here. The panel discussion begins at roughly 1 hour and 5 minutes into the video.