The Daily Q: Which cities supply financial data to tech developers?

Which cities supply financial data to tech developers?

The office of New York City Comptroller John Liu recently revealed that it is developing Checkbook NYC 2.0, which would greatly expand on the information already publicly available via the Comptroller’s website on the city’s payments to contractors and other recipients of funds.

As first reported in TechPresident, a revamped Checkbook NYC now under development would provide detailed information about the contracts underlying the payments as well as information about vendors and the budget for each agency making the payments. Checkbook NYC 2.0 would also track revenues coming in to each agency.

But perhaps the most signficant detail about the Checkbook NYC upgrade is that for the first time, according to TechPresident, New York City financial data will be available via an application program interface, or API, which would allow programmers, journalists and others to tap the data in building their own digital applications. Deputy comptroller for public affairs Ari Hoffnung said, “Our goal is to make New York City the most financially transparent government in the United States.”

But How far is New York City from that goal? Today’s New York World Daily Q asks: What other cities make their finances available via open source technology? And how do they do it?

If you have information or insights to share, please comment below, write us, or tweet to @thenyworld.

What we found

The Comptroller’s vision for CheckbookNYC 2.0, including both an open source web portal and API for third-party developers, is poised to set new standards for disclosure of local financial data. Many cities now post detailed databases of contract expenditures and other financial transactions, but APIs – which allow software developers to create applications that draw from real-time data — are not yet commonplace.

Cities that use the Socrata platform to host their data, financial information if they so choose, do automatically provide an API to all hosted databases, however. Chicago’s Data Portal, for instance maintains a database of 90,000 entries labeled “Contracts” described in part as “Contracts and modifications awarded by the City of Chicago since 1993″ and is updated daily. Vendor payments and budget details are also among the offerings. New York’s Open Data platform is also hosted by Socrata.

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