NYC: Apps in the Big Apple

Robert Pattinson, the dude from Twilight, is in NYC filming his latest flick and tweens from all over are flocking to the city to stalk him. Meanwhile, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the start of 311-Online, a one-stop web portal for NYC services, and the Big App competition, reports the New York Times blog. Perhaps Mr. Pattinson (pictured right, scanning his phone) could use the application to find tween-less spots to enjoy a quiet meal.

In an effort to improve government transparency and accountability and stimulate development of the digital media industry, NYC is inviting software developers and related professionals to develop applications to help Internet users navigate vast stores of data in areas like citywide events, property sales, recreational facilities and restaurant inspections…

[P]lanned to become an annual competition known as NYC Big Apps, the city will make available about 80 data sets from 32 city agencies and commissions. The winners of the competition will get a cash prize, recognition at a dinner with the mayor, and marketing opportunities… City officials are particularly interested in receiving suggestions about how information could be used and how it could be presented electronically.

The mayor also announced the start of 311 Online — a one-stop, searchable Web portal on for thousands of New York City services — and said that the city would establish Skype and Twitter accounts for the 311 city services hot line.

Many applications already exist for phones, and countless cities are making restaurant inspection results available online; however, creating an application and website where consumers can access multiple agency information is smart. Consumers want this information, and they want it at their fingertips. I’d like to see a phone application that can give me the nearest pizza place, its restaurant inspection score, and the current location of Robert Pattinson (OK, that’s asking a lot).