• Intro. 991 & The Internet of Things

last modified July 2, 2009 by tomlowenhaupt

The New York City Council has a legislative proposal, Intro. 991, that seeks to improve public access to "raw data" held in city databases. The .nyc TLD, in its "Internet of Things" capacity, can facilitate access and development of this data. Our testi­mony to the City Council on Intro. 991 as well as some context notations are provided here.


Think of a database as a thing, similar to a bench, a tree, a light post, or fire hydrant. And imagine for a moment giving that database a domain names. For example, think about the police department's crimes database, and let's take Mayor Bloomberg's lead and call it crimes.data.nyc. The great thing about giving a domain ­name / URL to each database (or thing) is that you can then have a public conversation about that database. By giving it an intuitive name you gain points with programmers, but you also create a market place for that database. So at that crimes.data.nyc­­ URL you will find: ­
    • A detailed description of the data
    • A link to download the raw data
    • A conversation of how it "might" be used if only this or that was changed or added
    • A comment or discussion by people who object to it containing too much info.
    • A suggestion that this of that field should require privacy access­

    • Notations as to the different apps where the data has been used
    • A civic advocate / entrepreneur match program for locating people with similar interests and a desire to jointly develop apps based on the crimes.data.nyc ­data set.
To encourage the development of Intro. 991 and other open data efforts (e.g., Mayor Bloomberg's NYC Big Apps) within the scope of an Internet of Things, we provided the below testimony to the New York City Council's Technology in Government Committee on June 29, 2009.


Comments to the New York City Council on Intro. 991 - A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York,
in relation to creating open data standards.

by Thomas Lowenhaupt, Chair
Connecting.nyc Inc.
June 29, 2009

I’m Thomas Lowenhaupt, founder of Connecting.nyc Inc., a NYS not-for-profit created to educate New Yorkers about the Internet. The central organizing force behind our work is the .nyc Top Level Domain. Think of .nyc as being like .com, .org, or .gov but just for New York City.

Connecting.nyc Inc. traces its roots to the Internet Empowerment Resolution passed by Queens Community Board 3 on April 19, 2001. I was then a member of the community board and back then we advanced the concept of Open Data through the use of a Creative Commons license for our Community Board’s website. And our Internet Empowerment Resolution envisioned using the .nyc Top Level Domain as the organizing force for New York City’s digital resources.

My goal today is to alert the Council to the advantages of using .nyc TLD as part of the Open 311 and Intro. 991 initiatives. Basically stated, .nyc provides an unlimited number of names that might be used to identify digital resources. This includes data acquired as part of the city’s 311 operation as well as all other city databases.

The naming of databases is just one example of the naming power of the .nyc Top Level domain. It extends to assigning digital names to objects not normally seen as part of the digital world. For example, by naming every piece of street furniture – every bench, light post, fire hydrant, tree, etc. – the .nyc naming system becomes a programmers dream, leading to a more accessible and friendly city for both residents and visitors. It’s part of a transition to what’s called The Internet of Things.

And beyond the local, the Geneva-based CORE is advancing a common naming standard amongst global cities that would allow for closer cooperation and coordination between the world’s great cities.While the ICANN continues to ponder the process for activating .nyc, New York City can begin utilizing .nyc in the public’s interest, as infrastructure for assigning intuitive, human readable names to its digital resources.

I thank you for your attention. ­ 

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