Open data startup HDScores picked for NYU open gov study - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Dec. 23, 2013 8:45 am

Open data startup HDScores picked for NYU open gov study

A project of the Governance Lab at New York University, the Open Data 500 is "the first comprehensive study of U.S. companies that use open government data to generate new business and develop new products and services."
HDScores founder Matthew Eierman presenting at Baltimore TechBreakfast in November 2012.

HDScores founder Matthew Eierman presenting at Baltimore TechBreakfast in November 2012.

(Photo by Andrew Zaleski)

In a new project, the Open Data 500, a New York University-based research lab is now taking a look at businesses and startups nationwide that use openly available government data.

A project of The Governance Lab at New York University, the Open Data 500 is “the first comprehensive study of U.S. companies that use open government data to generate new business and develop new products and services.” The project went live on Dec. 17. And one of the first 50 companies to be picked for and participate in the new study is Glen Burnie-based startup HDScores.

View the first 50 companies here

View the 500 companies eligible for the study here.

Launched in 2012, HDScores is currently in the process of digitizing restaurant inspection scores handed out by health departments in more than 2,000 jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada.

Its founder, 27-year-old Matthew Eierman, is a chef by trade. He attended the Johnson & Wales University, and slogged it out in the restaurant business for several years afterward. Only after spending more than two hours to help friends who had purchased a restaurant of their own locate the eatery’s inspection scores did Eierman change course, thinking there must be a better way to summarize, and then locate, health department data.

Watch Eierman present HDScores at the November 2012 Baltimore TechBreakfast:

So far, HDScores has aggregated the health department data from six jurisdictions in the U.S., including Washington, D.C., and Maryland’s Montgomery County. The startup has culled the inspection scores for more than 38,000 establishments, which is available on an interactive map on HDScores website. Right now the startup has access to more than two-thirds of health department restaurant inspection data in the U.S.

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In Baltimore city, HDScores’ efforts are stalled, as only a limited amount of health department data is available. The city is, however, making changes to digitize its restaurant inspection scores, an initiative being spearheaded by Baltimore City Council member Brandon Scott, who has said that the city’s open data efforts have “a long way to go.”

The GovLab, as it’s otherwise known, studies the intersection of technology and government and, much in the same way that Code for America does, builds technology tools to make government more transparent and municipal processes easier for the voting public to navigate.

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