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A hacknight dedicated to transit & NYC school data

About Beyond Transparency 

For the month of Jan and Feb, BetaNYC is doubling down its advocacy investment in open data. We are focusing on building tools for City Council Members, their staff, and Community Boards. For these weeks, we are looking at four data realms and building apps on top of that data: Crime and Public Safety, Schools and Transportation, Land Use, and NYC 311 data. These nights will feed into a two day hackathon (22/23 Feb), Code Across NYC

About this hacknight

This event is a unique night. We're taking a specific problem and amplifying it as a use case to learn more about transportation and school datasets. If you have other projects, please bring them and post them to the wiki. Also in the wiki, we have a broad collection of datasets.

7:00 PM - Event Starts Promptly
7:15 PM - 7:45 PM - Presentation of Use Case and Datasets
7:55 PM till 9:30 PM - Hacking
9:30 PM - 10:00 PM - Report back and clean up

NYC School's Problem Brief:

Last Fall, the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) released its first-ever API for high school data. Already, six developers have built apps against it to help the 80,000 middle-school students and their families who choose high schools every year. < >

But, many students and parents want to narrow down their school options by for example, a given commute time, a given route, or other transportation considerations (i.e. I only want to take the subway). We need your help to add ease and functionality to the school choice experience.

Join us for demos from best-in-field apps, APIs, and tools that might be combined to improve the school choice experience for NYC students.

Key challenge to solve:

Who to Target (the user): Middle school students, their families, and guidance counselors...

The NYCDOE's choice model of admissions allows students to apply to a range of schools, rather than attending their nearest or zoned school. This model is intended to provide students with more educational options, incentivize schools to improve their offerings, and improve the school system at large.

Further, the NYCDOE has made significant efforts to provide students and parents with training and information resources to help them evaluate school options. Each student may submit up to 12 school choices, then a data-driven algorithm maximizes the match between students’ preferences and their school placements. Today, over half of students receive their top-ranked school choice and three quarters receive one of their three top picks.

Variability in the choice experience and of the components necessary for making informed choices are topics the DOE explored through fieldwork with the Public Policy Lab. The above and following includes some highlights from that work.

Prompts for Design Action:

• Kids need a push to investigate schools outside their comfort zone, so they don't miss good options.

• Kids should get personalized default lists, so they can focus on likely schools – or explore overlooked options.

Relevant Data

• NYC Department of Education Data

• NYC High School Data -  (point location + other data)

• NYC 311 School Data - 

• Data MTA Developer Site (Bus, subway GTFS, and point locations)  - 

• Ferry DataNYC DOT, SI Ferry:

• NY Waterways / East River Ferry: 

• CitiBike Locations - Unoffical,

Ideas and More Data

• BetaNYC Project Idea Market

• GItHub Wiki on this subject

Event Host:

Pediacities/Ontodia created the PediaCities platform to curate, organize, and link data about cities. Check out our first PediaCities knowledgebase at for a demonstration of what clean linked data looks like. Ontodia was founded in 2011 by Joel Natividad and Sami Baig following their success at NYCBigApps 3.0, where they won the Grand Prize for NYCFacets. The PediaCities platform, with NYCpedia as the first PediaCity, is our attempt to add value on top of NYC’s incredible open data ecosystem.

Join or login to comment.

  • Nathan S.

    Great Meetup! Thanks everyone for coming.

    Did anyone leave behind a grey scarf? If you want to pick it up let me know.

    January 23, 2014

  • Chris W.!/ Here's the BetaNYC Projects page... if you have a project to add, just send me the github URL. civic.json is an experimental metadata standard that adds all of the bits that github doesn't have. Try it out!

    January 22, 2014

  • Nitya N.

    Hi all, I am really interested in contributing to (and working on) projects related to the DoE data as well. I live/work in the Hudson Valley and can't make it into the city today -- could you share the presentation (problem statements and links to datasets or projects) so I could perhaps still contribute/participate in development?

    1 · January 22, 2014

  • Yi Chun C.


    January 18, 2014

  • Leonard B.

    Who is working on the new DoE data? I am very very very interested in the educational dataset and problems surrounding schools. I would love to join with some others and start a new project OR join any existing project.

    I am a javascript/php/rails developer.

    January 16, 2014

    • Leonard B.

      Ah- I just realized this conflicts with BrooklynJS. I would love to connect with anyone offline as well. Please reach out if you are interested in this topic.

      1 · January 16, 2014

  • Anne M.

    Is it ok if I come and leave at 8.30p?

    January 14, 2014

    • Noel Hidalgo | B.

      i hope you are implying that you'll be here when the meeting starts and leave at 8:30? :-D This should be fine.

      January 14, 2014

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