Category Archives: Data

CSV Download of Cities in the US by State

I’m working on building business directories for specific cities on my Hyp3rL0cal project. I really needed a database of cities in the United States, rather than manually entering them as I am targeting each city.

I’m sure there are a lot of places I can go to find a list of cities, I wrote a harvest script for Wikipedia last time I needed this. This time I found an easy CSV download of US cities over at the Google Adwords API.

The US Cities CSV download has cities broken down by state, and provides metro name, code and the state abbreviation, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Using the CSV I was able to quickly import into MySQL as well make a JSON representation for use in some of my projects that don’t use a database back-end.

I’m adding the Google Adwords API, US City CSV to my list of valuable datasets that CityGrid publishers can use in their web and mobile applications. Let me know if there are other datasets that you need, and I’ll see what I can do to find them.

CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack: Parse

In February I’m spending more time building, what I’ve dubbed the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack, a list of APIs, platforms and tools that you can use in your local-mobile applications.

Of course CityGrid PlacesOffersReviews andAdvertising are first in that stack, but I want to identify other APIs, tools and platforms that can also assist you in quickly building your mobile app.

As I add items to this stack. I will showcase them one by one here on the blog. The next one on my list is Parse, which offers a pretty impressive data storage, push notifications and user management platform for your mobile backend.

Parse is looking to provide a single platform for your mobile backend, providing a single cloud interface for:

  • Data Storage – Providing native SDKs for iPhone and Android ORM data storage platform, allowing objects to be stored and retrieved as needed.
  • Push Notifications – A standardized push notification platform across iPhone and Android, overcoming the headaches of each individual platforms notification system.
  • User Management – Nobody likes having to rewrite your own user management system, so parse provides one that securely allows you to sign up, login and manage users across multiple devices.

At first glance I thought Parse was just another back-end for iOS or Android mobile applications, but I see they have a robust REST API, that can be used in mobile web apps as well. This means you can access the same users, data storage and take advantage of push notifications in your mobile web, or just the web version of your applications platform.

The REST API opens up the playing field and lets you interact with Parse from anything that can send an HTTP request, some examples they provide are:

  • A mobile website can access Parse data from Javascript.
  • A webserver can show data from Parse on a website.
  • You can upload large amounts of data that will later be consumed in a mobile app.
  • You can download recent data to run your own custom analytics.
  • Applications written in any programming language can interact with data on Parse.
  • You can export all of your data if you no longer want to use Parse.

Native app usage is definitely growing with more smart phone usage, but bridging the worlds between multiple devices as well as on the web is critical. Parse making the decision to provide a REST interface to your mobile back-end is smart.

Parse seems to be truly about making mobile app developers lives easier, with constant improvements coming down the pipes, like syncing, realtime push, and analytics soon — all without having to develop, maintain, and deploy complicated server code.

I’m adding Parse to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack and will be weaving more of their services into what we offer here in the CityGrid Developer Center as well as our hackathon tools.

New York City Open Data Highlight: Restaurant Inspection Results

The amount of open data available right now can be dizzying and overwhelming. When looking through various data repositories and data marketplaces, I am trying to identify open data sets from various cities that may be of use to CityGrid developers.

As I find data sets, that can add value to your web and mobile apps I will highlight here on the blog. Today’s highlighted data set is from NYC Open Data, and provides a complete set of restaurant inspection results for New York City.

When your users are looking for restaurants, while using your applications, it seems that knowing the restaurants latest inspection grade would be useful information in making a decision where to eat.

At the moment CityGrid doesn’t include restaurant inspection grades in our places detail, but with open data sets like NYC restaurant inspection results you could download and link up by restaurant name and address, to augment the already rich business info and reviews you get from CityGrid APIs.

I will be regularly highlighting other city data sets here, in hopes of providing quality data you can augment CityGrid places with, as well let our data acquisition team about new data you would like to see integrated with CityGrid places–so make sure and let me know when you find any of these useful, I will pass it on.