Best metro data releases for 2011

Declaring that it’s a great year to be a data geek, The Atlantic Cities presents its list of 10 best urban datasets released in 2011.  Favorites include traffic signals in Vancouver (BC), one-way streets in Toronto (ON), relocated cars in Chicago (which answers the burning question, “Dude, who towed my car?”), and the ever-popular mosquito trap data for Edmonton (AB).

In case you’re wondering where the transit datasets are, the story also gives a nod to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (NY) recently maligned Bus Time tracking system, which uses an open platform model.  Also referenced is the Civic Commons blog, where Karl Fogel writes about the app at greater length. “The big win in civic technology is to build systems that become platforms upon which anyone can build new services, whether volunteer, commercial, or cross-governmental,” he says. “And that’s exactly how [the MTA] is doing it. Starting with their pilot of real-time bus-tracking along the B63 route in Brooklyn, and now expanding to Staten Island in the next phase, and then ultimately to the entire city, they are building an architecture that explicitly supports the development of new and varied applications beyond what MTA produces itself.”

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