ODTV Video of the Week: Solving a Public Problem With Open Data

May 22, 2015 6:06 am PST | Data as a Service

“It’s an excellent time to be a technologist,” says William Jeffries, a full stack engineer with Heat Seek NYC, in this week’s featured Open Data TV video. There are more data sets available now than ever before, and buried within each of them is a solvable problem.

For the non-profit Heat Seek NYC, keeping New Yorkers warm is an issue that can be solved with data. During winter, New York’s temperatures become frigid, and with as many as 200,000 heating complaints each year, ensuring that all New Yorkers have adequate, legal heating in their homes is a mission worth tackling. Using 311 data and affordable open sensors, Heat Seek has been able to create a way to easily identify heat failures — once discovered, the violations are fixed.

“That’s the beauty of open data…if you have the technology skills, and the inquisitiveness, and the curiosity, the data is there. Really, it just has to be combed through and figured out,” comments Tom Hunter, who works in marketing for Heat Seek.

And for engineer William Jeffries, being able to use available data to improve lives has a near-magical feeling. For more on Heat Seek’s mission, and to see how they’re using data to solve a serious problem in New York City, watch the full video on ODTV.


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