Software Development
Data / Food and drink / Hackathons

HDScores just launched an API for its trove of restaurant inspection data

Have at it, civic hackers and open-data buffs.

HDScores founder Matthew Eierman presenting at Baltimore TechBreakfast in November 2012. (Photo by Andrew Zaleski)

HDScores founder Matthew Eierman has this mantra about letting anyone tap into the data his startup has compiled about restaurant inspections: “We don’t care where people consume our data, as long as they consume our data.”
It fits, then, that the company is launching public API so developers, open-data lovers and the rest of the public can get access. It will be available for free to users up to 2,500 inspection reports a day. Then, you have to pay. The data is also available on and Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace.
Since the project started three-and-a-half years ago, the bootstrapped startup has added data from state and local health inspection reports from 615,000 restaurants to its system (that’s 41 percent of existing restaurants, the company estimates) then cleans the data and puts it into a consumable format. With HDScores’ mobile app, eaters can look up the results of a restaurant’s score before they ask for a table.
The latest move has been to open up the data and make it more widely available.
In addition to the public API, the company is also releasing a new web app embeddable for local health departments, news organizations or anyone else who might want access. And, by the way, there are no ads.
Since they are collecting publicly available data, Eierman said, “We want to return that privilege to people who want to access the data.”
Along with spreading the public data, Eierman said opening up the data will help spread HDScores’ name in a space where there isn’t a “name brand” that people instantly recognize. Going forward, he said the company may pursue licensing and email marketing as additional ways of making money.

Companies: HDScores

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