5 Million NYC Property Records Available Via Startup’s API

Back in the fall, we told you about NYC’s BigApps competition, which encouraged technological innovation to benefit government and civic engagement. Public voting for the submitted applications opened this week.

One of the submissions to come out of this competition is Blocks and Lots, an interesting app and API that essentially expose all the property records – more than 5 million records, total – for New York City. For site owners, there’s a customizable widget that can be embedded in just about any kind of site.

Blocks and Lots’ API allows developers to integrate detailed property information into any web or mobile application. Sample code is available in PHP and JavaScript.

Blocks and Lots comes from BlankSlate, an NYC startup offering a web platform and set of read/write APIs for making, sharing, monetizing, and monitoring web apps. The company provides capabilities such as data, file, user and payment management through REST APIs.

Using the same platform, BlankSlate was able to gather the city’s data files from 45 file sources from three different city agencies, import them and instantly export APIs. This process took just a few days.

For example, you can use the Blocks and Lots widget to dig into the property valuation for Ellis Island, which is apparently worth about as much as Zynga these days.

In the near future, Blocks and Lots will add location-aware iPhone and Android apps (i.e., the user’s mobile device will automatically retrieve property data depending on where the user it), and enabling the writable APIs to add user-generated content to the city’s data (e.g., photos, documents or text).

To vote for Blocks and Lots – or any of the other apps submitted in the BigApps competition – check out the app gallery and voting rules.

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