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Open Data Tells NYC Residents Where the Rats Are

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the save-the-cheese dept.

Government 93

itwbennett writes "The New York City Health Department's Rat Information Portal provides raw data on where the rats are, based on inspections done by the health department, as well as by their rat indexing initiative. The portal isn't a new open data initiative, but if you're a NYC resident and not a big fan of rodents, the site is worth a look. 'The most interesting part of the portal is the interactive heat map of rat inspection data,' says ITworld's Phil Johnson. 'Using this interactive map, you can look up the inspection history, going back to 2009, for any address in the five boroughs. It will tell you the dates and results of any inspections, as well of any follow up compliance checks. As for raw data, the site provides city-wide rat reports, aggregated to the zip code level, going back to 2006.'"

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Thankfully it's NYC (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46041739)

And not Washington. Holy crap, the map would just be red, highlighted by ultra red around congress.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46041785)

And not Washington. Holy crap, the map would just be red, highlighted by ultra red around congress.

Yeah, yeah. But seriously, have you been in a big city and seen the swarms of rats? Chilling.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46041919)

We call those "Asians" here in California, and we're in the peak of a major swarm because of Tet.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46042345)

There is something preternaturally chilling about the sight of both rats and roaches, something ingrained in our DNA perhaps, and these vermin are ubiquitous in human history.

"If you're a NYC resident and not a big fan of rodents..." __What's a guesstimate on the percentage?

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about 8 months ago | (#46043507)

Somehow I doubt that fear of certain animals are ingrained in our DNA. Certain animals are considered pests or cute based on personal experience and cultural factors. Certainly I consider snakes to be scary, while many people consider them to be good pets.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46042505)

Urban rats are manageable if people aren't pigs. But we've got rats here in Chicago who can chew through a heavy-duty plastic municipal garbage bin. At first, I would see these big bites taken out of the garbage can lids and I had no idea what they were, then one day I'm walking the dog and she scares a rat who was sitting on top of the can chewing the lid. It was the first one I'd seen.

Considering how few rats I've actually set eyes on and the number of bites taking out of the garbage cans out in the alley, Chicago rats must wear cloaks of invisibility or something. I'm out walking the dog 365 days a year, morning, noon and night and I've probably seen two rats in 10 years.

Racoons on the other hand are another story. There were some living under the gutter of the house that was being renovated a few doors away. They were as big as Shetland ponies. I mean giant. And they make this weird mewling/growling sound that sounds like they're possessed by Satan.

Urban wildlife. Dude.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46042563)

Out in the wild areas of wild north america, we get around the problem of wildlife getting into the garbage by using lid-locking metal cans. I've yet to see something chew through galvanized steel, and do it successfully. Even the bears give up after a time if they can't smash the lid off.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#46043575)

One issue in urban (and suburban) areas is that, to save pickup costs, cities are increasingly using automated pickup systems [youtube.com] so they can run 1-man-crew garbage trucks, and those don't work with locking lids, at least at present.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46050507)

Out in Alberta they make bins that have a lock, but are reinforced plastic. And can be auto-unlocked by the handler on the truck. I should have taken some pictures of it when I was out there, since it was neat as anything.

Duh it's Chicago (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 8 months ago | (#46043849)

Did you know even some *humans* live there in the wilderness? Even though it looks like a ghost town, if you look carefully, you can sometimes still find a home that still has someone living in it.

Re:Duh it's Chicago (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46045507)

Chicago looks like a ghost town? Are you insane? Right now it's 25 degrees below zero windchill outside and there are still a half-million people who come downtown to work. I live just to the West of downtown. If the Sears Tower were to top over to the West, the tip of the antenna would fall on my bed, hopefully on my wife's side. I'm in a better position to see Chicago than you, certainly. Don't mistake Chicago for Detroit.

Cities are like women (sexist metaphor coming!). Chicago and Detroit are both women who are broke. The difference is, Chicago is a pretty woman and Detroit is not. And a pretty woman can always get by, whereas the slightly seedy woman might have a harder time.

ADM just moved their headquarters to Chicago, from the relatively lower-tax downstate area. Why? Because this is where the business goes. Chicago is the #2 financial city in the United States behind New York. We have the best orchestra, the best opera company and the best blues bars. We have a public lakeshore running the entire length of the city. It's like the friggin' Riviera (except not today, because there are 25 degrees below zero windchills). We've got the Blackhawks, Bears, Sox and Cubs (in order of importance) and you wanna beef sandwich, I can take you to a place where you'll think your stomach died and went to heaven.

Chicago is the perfect American city (except not today because it's like 50-50 whether my car is gonna start in this 25 degrees below friggin' zero windchill).

Talk about my city. Why I oughta...

Re:Duh it's Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46046731)

If the Sears Tower were to top over to the West, the tip of the antenna would fall on my bed, hopefully on my wife's side.

I actually laughed out loud.

Plastic is rodent candy. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 8 months ago | (#46047151)

But we've got rats here in Chicago who can chew through a heavy-duty plastic municipal garbage bin.

All rodents can do that, including mice and voles. The thing that's different about Chicago is that the humans are so detached from nature that they don't know this.

Rodents cannot chew through glass, and it takes them a very long time to chew through metal or concrete. If you live near rodents, use a galvanized metal can; if you live near raccoons or possums use raccoon springs.

Re:Plastic is rodent candy. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46055423)

The thing that's different about Chicago is that the humans are so detached from nature that they don't know this.

I'll have you know we Chicagoans are not detached from nature, my friend. In fact, just last week I had a pigeon crap on my car and last spring I ran over a squirrel.

I got yer nature right over here.

Re:Plastic is rodent candy. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 8 months ago | (#46121873)

I wish I could "like" your post, but on the other hand slashdot on its worst day is probably still better than Facebook.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46048871)

PopeRatzo,

I'd think you would see a lot more rats than that...your relatives and all... ;-)

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46055533)

I'd think you would see a lot more rats than that...your relatives and all... ;-)

Oh, you occasionally see rats in my family, but usually not for very long.

Chilling? Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043337)

Rats serve a purpose. I've lived in several of the largest cities in the US over the last 20-odd years, and they're fine. Including NYC, and yes, the morning rat migrations around Borough Hall were impressive. But hardly chilling.

Chilling is walking in a rural area, having a truck drive by, and stop in front of you.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 8 months ago | (#46044891)

And not Washington. Holy crap, the map would just be red, highlighted by ultra red around congress.

Yeah, yeah. But seriously, have you been in a big city and seen the swarms of rats? Chilling.

At least they got rid of that Bloomberg rat.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (4, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 8 months ago | (#46041865)

That's really not fair to rats, considering the research results showing their empathy for their fellow rodent [phys.org] .

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46042183)

Politicians also display strong tendencies to keep each other out of jail... It's just that their empathic behavior drops off pretty sharply with distance.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46042281)

Not distance; by degree of dirt. They protect those that can take them down.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 8 months ago | (#46048563)

Rats are very cool animals as long as they're not in your food supply or carrying plague. They're naturally very timid, but can make good pets once they get used to being around people. I have rats around to feed my Ball Pythons, but I've had several that were extremely friendly and became pets. They can turn their feet backwards to help in climbing ropes, which is pretty weird to see.

Re:Thankfully it's NYC (1)

TripleE78 (883800) | about 8 months ago | (#46047795)

Haha, jokes about congresscritters aside, D.C. and surrounding inner suburbs really do have a serious rat (the actual animal) problem.

Besides, you forgot K St NW. It's where all the lobbyists are.

Better idea (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 8 months ago | (#46041751)

Bioengineer RFID chips into all the NYC rats so you can tell where every one of the little bastards are at all times.

Re:Better idea (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#46041839)

Bioengineer RFID chips into all the NYC rats so you can tell where every one of the little bastards are at all times.

Woudln't work -- not only are they intelligent enough to remove the chips and hide them in other mobile objects, NYC gets a constant stream of rodent migrants coming in by land, air and sea. At which point, if you could bioengineer an RFID chip that would be dominant, why not just bioengineer dominant male infertility?

Re:Better idea (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46041995)

You'd probably need something more subtle... You want a trait that substantially enhances the target's reproductive chances (so that the trait spreads through the population as quickly and thoroughly as possible, per unit expense of introducing new engineered carriers); but somehow either makes them less noxious, or cripples them. If you are too good at engineering an aggressively heritable trait, you'll just strengthen the target population; but if you dial up the lethal/fertility-compromising, your carriers will just die out and be replaced by wild types that don't have the defect.

As an alternative, you could try to implement the defect in a viral vector, and have that spread through the population. They've done some work in Australia trying to get virally-transmitted immunocontraceptives to work on rabbits...

Re:Better idea (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46042033)

As an alternative, you could try to implement the defect in a viral vector, and have that spread through the population. They've done some work in Australia trying to get virally-transmitted immunocontraceptives to work on rabbits...

Yeah... what could *possibly* go wrong with that? Why don't you start by cross breeding AIDS with ebola?

Re:Better idea (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46042149)

Oh, you worrywart you. Just think of how much more pleasant airplanes, movie theaters, and similar crowded public spaces would be without obnoxious screaming babies and children kicking the back of your seat!

Re:Better idea (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46042271)

Maybe you need generation skipping genetic flaws that will not kick in until the entire population is infected.
Then the sterility gene suddenly turns on.

Seems unlikely this could be contained, and would probably spread out of control via some unforeseen vector.

Re: Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46052429)

Monsanto is working on it.

Re:Better idea (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46042233)

why not just bioengineer dominant male infertility?

In theory, that sounds like the fastest route to reducing rat populations.
One generation, and done.

In practice, it simply isn't likely to propagate, so dominant mail infertility is an oxymoron.
(I can only assume you had your tongue firmly lodged in your cheek when you suggested it).

However non-lethal chemical castration can work to make a drastic temporary reduction in
population, if rats weren't so smart. You would have to come up with constantly changing feeding
techniques so you don't end up eradicating only those rats that eat corn, or only those
that live in buildings.

 

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043025)

In theory, that sounds like the fastest route to reducing rat populations.

Nope. Gotta nuke'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Better idea (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#46047665)

why not just bioengineer dominant male infertility?

In theory, that sounds like the fastest route to reducing rat populations.
One generation, and done.

In practice, it simply isn't likely to propagate, so dominant mail infertility is an oxymoron.
(I can only assume you had your tongue firmly lodged in your cheek when you suggested it).

However non-lethal chemical castration can work to make a drastic temporary reduction in
population, if rats weren't so smart. You would have to come up with constantly changing feeding
techniques so you don't end up eradicating only those rats that eat corn, or only those
that live in buildings.

I'm curious: why don't you think it would propagate? Something similar has already successfully been done in certain species of mosquitoes successfully.
Dominant male infertility propagates through the females, who carry the dominant gene to their male and female offspring. The male offspring cannot reproduce, but still compete with the males that can, which provides a slow generational decline (which is important) in population, until the only female mice still in the area are all carrying the dominant gene, and the only virile males are ones arriving from elsewhere. Eventually the population gets low enough that the dominant gene carrying females don't spread much further, but there are enough in the local population to repress any reproduction booms. This tecnhique wouldn't be effective in one generation (you'd barely get a foothold in the local population in a single generation), and it wouldn't eradicate rats, but it would put a check on the population boom cycle.

Re:Better idea (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46048587)

Mosquitoes are irradiated, not genetically modified.

New experiments [treehugger.com] that painstakingly injected male mosquito embryos [nature.com] are simply too expensive to use in the field. Surgically injecting a mosquito or a rat does not scale.

In short, they aren't "breeding" sterile males, they have to make them one by one in a laboratory.

Further nobody has ever demonstrated this in a mammal. Further your statement:

The male offspring cannot reproduce, but still compete with the males that can, which provides a slow generational decline (which is important) in population, until the only female mice still in the area are all carrying the dominant gene,

is chock full of magical thinking.

Where did all these female carrier "mice" come from? (The story is about rats, not mice). Were they the *cough* nonexistent offspring of sterile males perhaps?

Nobody has developed any dominant sterility mechanism, because there is this little contradiction in terms that seems to always get in the way. As someone else in the thread said "sterility doesn't breed true", quite simply because it doesn't breed at all. In a free ranging population like rats, even magically sterilizing an entire male population, or some how converting all females to carriers, would simply breed resistant rats as infiltrating non-treated rats would be king of the heap in no time.

Rat control is food source control. Pure and simple.

Re:Better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042377)

why not just bioengineer dominant male infertility?

The problem there is that it just doesn't breed true.

Re:Better idea (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46041857)

Better better idea: Don't live in New York.
Not only will you avoid the rats, but you'll also avoid the pretentious shits and you'll be able to get a decent slice of pizza for once.

Re:Better idea (2)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | about 8 months ago | (#46041939)

NYC has the best pizza in the world, and the really big rats are usually on the subway tracks (and they are smart, never saw one get nailed by the 3rd rail in the 20 years I lived there).

Re:Better idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46042011)

"NYC has the best pizza in the world,..."
yes, people from NYC love to claim that.

Re:Better idea (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 8 months ago | (#46047661)

"NYC has the best pizza in the world,..."
yes, people from NYC love to claim that.

And it's led to some of the most hilarious bits on The Daily Show. Loved it when a Chicago deep dish chef actually came out to NYC and made John taste an actual deepdish (not the dreck found in pseudo-Chicago restaurants). Or when The Donald took The Pig with Lipstick to a pizza dive and ate w/ knife and fork.

Re:Better idea (0, Offtopic)

BitZtream (692029) | about 8 months ago | (#46042013)

NYC has the best pizza in the world,

You really shouldn't start the sentence off by saying something that just makes you look like an ignorant moron.

Neither Chicago NOR New York make 'good pizza'. Its really sad that you think American pizza (of any kind) is the best.

Re:Better idea (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46042419)

The best line I ever heard about pizza:

Pizza is like sex. Even when it's not very good, it's still pretty good.

Re:Better idea (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46042647)

The best line I ever heard about pizza:

Pizza is like sex. Even when it's not very good, it's still pretty good.

The person you heard that from was not doing it right.

Re:Better idea (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46042699)

So does that explain my lack of a good woman or my heartburn?

Re:Better idea (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 8 months ago | (#46042685)

American pizza is a completely different dish then Italian pizza. In fact, I would posit that pizza actually is an ambiguous term referring to many dishes with a few common factors (flat bread with some sort of toppings).

NY Pizza is different then Chicago pizza, and that's a different type then found in my home town.

This is true in Italy as well. Pizza in Rome is very different then pizza in Napoli.

And there are many places with Pizza. Pide, a Turkish pizza is perhaps one of my favorites and looks nothing like what you would probably consider Pizza (you make the dough into a "boat" and fill with the toppings. This allows you to do things like put raw egg inside and cook)

Re:Better idea (1)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46043373)

Cities don't make pizzas. *Countries* don't make pizza either. Cooks do. If you take a pizza chef out of Napoli and fly him to New York, he doesn't suddenly lose his pizza making skills.

Now New York City has a large number of very good pizzerias. Keste on Bleecker Street is the best I've tried, but for all I know there may be a better pizzeria lurking somewhere in Brooklyn.

I am a Bostonian. If you visited and went to a pizzeria, it would almost certainly be Greek, not Italian, serving a Greek style pie. They're good, especially right out of the oven, but pretty standard; I've never eaten in what I'd call an outstanding Greek pizzeria. I think it's something about the style that makes mediocrity easy to achieve but difficult to transcend. Still, we have Neapolitan pizzerias as well, and the best of them could compete in New York. I think Pizzeria Posto in Davis Square Somerville is very nearly as good as Keste, although my son is partial to Za on Mass Ave in Arlington. Regina in the North End or Santarpio's in East Boston are pretty comparable John's in Greenwich Village.

That's probably the way it goes across the country. At the bottom you've got your chains. Above them you have your neighborhood pizzerias. Together chains and mediocre pizzas parlors are probably 95-99.5% of the pizza, and above them you'll have a few very good places.

Re:Better idea (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46042605)

NYC has the best pizza in the world, and the really big rats are usually on the subway tracks (and they are smart, never saw one get nailed by the 3rd rail in the 20 years I lived there).

I guess I have to admit that I've never actually eaten pizza IN NYC. I've had numerous pizzas that are "NY Style" or sold as "NY Pizza". So far the "NY Style" pizza I've experienced is nothing special. Perhaps the real thing is significantly different. I guess I can hope that NY pizza is the one recipe on the planet that cannot be readily duplicated by others.

Re:Better idea (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#46043149)

If you ask me food isn't all that location-specific any more.

Re:Better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042031)

NYC is the best place in the world. I'd love a chance to live there. What's wrong with NYC pizza? Nothing. You can find pizza of all quality levels there. Everything from bottom of the barrel Domino's to authentic Neapolitan brick oven pizza, and everything in between.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042099)

Paying $2000 a month for a whopping 300 square feet of living space, shared by a roommate.

No thanks. For a single person who just cares about having enough space to sit at a table with their MacBook, that's fine. Good luck trying to start a family, much less find your kids decent schools, unless you are making seven digits a year, and even then.

There are better, safer, and more healthy places to live.

Re:Better idea (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 8 months ago | (#46042719)

NYC is the best place in the world for the rich. I'd love a chance to live there, and be rich.

The BIG problem with living in NYC is the amount of money you need. If you have $100 million in the bank or a job that pays $250k a year, your life style here is sweet (and completely unmatched anywhere else in the world).

If, on the other hand, you do a "normal" job, life is much harder.

Of course, some people like the trade off. If you don't mind living in a closet you may prefer the night life here to small town America, even if the rent on your Manhattan studio would cover the costs of a McMansion in small town, USA.

Re:Better idea (1)

aviators99 (895782) | about 8 months ago | (#46043407)

The BIG problem with living in NYC is the amount of money you need. If you have $100 million in the bank or a job that pays $250k a year, your life style here is sweet (and completely unmatched anywhere else in the world).

Hmm...I think I'll opt for the $100 million in the bank.

Re:Better idea (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 8 months ago | (#46043515)

Hmm...I think I'll opt for the $100 million in the bank.

You and me both buddy

Re:Better idea (2)

khelms (772692) | about 8 months ago | (#46041937)

What if they learn to put wet towels around their heads?

Re:Better idea (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 8 months ago | (#46042971)

Or just track the phones of everyone who works on Wall St, and get the same data more easily.

Need more cats (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46041893)

Introduce some new workers on the payroll ... cats. Spayed and full treatments. Have them able to be clearly identifiable so people know they are on the job.

I moved into a new suburb that is predominately a dog neighbourhood about two years ago. I still wake up most mornings to a nice dead rat on the welcome mat. I still cannot believe the number of rats that he's caught.

And don't hit me with the argument of native wildlife. Dogs are just as bad and most species now are introduced. The hit rate of vermin to non vermin way, way high.

Re:Need more cats (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46042673)

Introduce some new workers on the payroll ... cats. Spayed and full treatments. Have them able to be clearly identifiable so people know they are on the job.

I moved into a new suburb that is predominately a dog neighbourhood about two years ago. I still wake up most mornings to a nice dead rat on the welcome mat. I still cannot believe the number of rats that he's caught.

And don't hit me with the argument of native wildlife. Dogs are just as bad and most species now are introduced. The hit rate of vermin to non vermin way, way high.

In some cities there are coyotes brought in for this purpose. http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulw... [npr.org]

What about all the rats in Wall St? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46041913)

When will they be dealt with?

Re:What about all the rats in Wall St? (1)

game kid (805301) | about 8 months ago | (#46042051)

Well, NYC is carrying out a Rat Indexing Initiative for Manhattan and the Bronx, per TFA.

So either they'll find the Wall St rats clustered around former Mayor Bloomberg, or they'll find the Yankees. Or me.

Re:What about all the rats in Wall St? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46042683)

Well, NYC is carrying out a Rat Indexing Initiative for Manhattan and the Bronx, per TFA.

So either they'll find the Wall St rats clustered around former Mayor Bloomberg, or they'll find the Yankees. Or me.

Are you saying you cluster around Bloomberg?

Mystery Solved (4, Funny)

mbstone (457308) | about 8 months ago | (#46041961)

Re:Mystery Solved (1)

game kid (805301) | about 8 months ago | (#46042073)

They check the map, yes, but they also look up advice on how best to treat, play with, and groom their pet humans. It's not like they only chase after food, now.

Cats on laptop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042395)

My friend was once running a game on his laptop when his cat jumped up onto the table and promptly lay down across the laptop's keyboard.

It was so sudden and unexpected, we both burst out laughing. His guess, which I suspect was correct, was that the laptop gives off heat and the cat had learned that it was a source of warmth. So it decided to stretch out there and take a nap. The fact that we were trying to use it at the time was probably just a bonus.

Not a very good map (2)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#46042005)

I'd like to see a Google Maps mashup with the data overlayed over it for better panning and zooming.

The NYC GIS map is awkward to use and the rat data doesn't appear to show above a very close in zoom level.

There may be some other link to a city-wide heat map but I didn't find it on the rat portal web site and slashdot's total brain damaged linking to most stories doesn't help.

Re:Not a very good map (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46042167)

Many municipalities have (usually hidden somewhere in the dusty crevices of their websites, sometimes not even that visible) proper GIS data access in place. The web-based viewers, while convenient, are usually pretty terrible (Google's is at least polished, if pretty lightweight). If they offer access to the data, though, you can have a proper application take care of that problem for you.

Re:Not a very good map (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#46042307)

That's what we need on Google Maps, a rat overlay. It'd look like the traffic overlay, except red would indicate a significant likelihood of being eaten.

Observation (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#46042017)

How about that; it's centered in Washington DC.

Re:Observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042123)

The article is referring to RATS, not SNAKES.

Re:Observation (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46045693)

Vermin then? is that more inclusive?

Where's the Google Rat View? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042071)

If we're tracking rats I want to see what the rats see.

Acronyms (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 8 months ago | (#46042143)

Seriously, a health department makes a project with the acronym RIP? I hope they weren't dead serious about it.

You mean other than... (1)

stox (131684) | about 8 months ago | (#46042327)

City Hall?

Rats? (2)

koan (80826) | about 8 months ago | (#46042591)

Don't you mean "Rodent Americans".

It's a coverup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46042705)

A realistic dataset would show where we all know the rats live: city hall.

Fuck This! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043099)

The "Rats" are in the Mayors Office, the Commissioners Offices, the Police Office(s), the state and federal Judiciary Offices for Christ sake!

We know the Rats.

We know where they ARE!

Its simple.

Just we need a 350 KT nuclear device to explode about 1000 m above ground over the Empire State Building and we ain't got that just yet but we are work'n on it.

Having spent many years dealing with environmental (3, Informative)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46043257)

and public health data, I'm always skeptical about datasets and maps like this. The reason is that what looks like a lot of data usually turns out to be not that much when you spread it out over all the environment you have to deal with. And it usually turns out to have all kinds of selection biases too -- at least the found stuff; data you collect as a side effect of other activities, rather than collected according to some kind of sampling protocol.

To see what I mean, look at the rodent heat map of NYC. You'll see red hot parcels adjacent to ice-cold parcels. Sometimes you'll have an ice-cold parcel with no reports surrounded on three sides by red hot parcels. Does that mean that one side of the boundary is teaming with rats and the other side has none whatsoever? Of course not. It means that somebody has reported a lot of rats on the "hot" parcel. Why is this? Well, maybe there's an observant resident. Maybe there's a place where it's particularly easy to see rats going about their business. Or maybe the residents of an area have banded together to generate a lot of reports so the city will do something. I've certainly seen stuff like that happen.

Imagine you are a rat looking at NYC. What are your top priorities? (1) water; (2) food, (3) shelter (or harborage in the rat watcher's lingo). And you're going to find those things *everywhere* in NYC. In fact the best places for you will be where you can go about your business unnoticed. There are many, many blocks with no rat reports surrounded by very similar blocks with lots of rat reports, and I'm guessing it's not because there are no rats there. And I doubt there's much more than a weak correlation between the rat population in an area and the number of reports.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's terrific NYC is making this data available. But I doubt you can conclude much about the rat population of your block from rat reports; it's safe to assume there are rats everywhere. If you want to know which blocks have the most rats, what you need is a field survey performed by experts.

A: Because it breaks the flow of a message (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 8 months ago | (#46045437)

Q: Why is starting a comment in the Subject: field incredibly irritating?

Re:A: Because it breaks the flow of a message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045847)

Q: Why is starting a comment in the Subject: field incredibly irritating?

At least the OP didn't write his fucking message backwards, you tool.

You see what I did there? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 8 months ago | (#46049679)

Because it should be obvious.

Install some of these (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 8 months ago | (#46043595)

automatic rat killing machines
http://www.wisecon.dk/?lang=en [wisecon.dk]
in the sewers and you have a rat massacre. :)

"Open Data Tells NYC Residents Where the Rats Are" (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 8 months ago | (#46043883)

Jersey.

Re:"Open Data Tells NYC Residents Where the Rats A (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46044239)

New Jersey, thankyouverymuch [wikipedia.org] .

Cats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043997)

If you have lots of cats, your rat population will be drastically reduced.

Societies of people who hate cats (who are generally scummy people) will suffer from mice and rat infestations. The ancient Egyptians (who were WHITE, by the way) worshipped cats for this very reason - they prevented their food stores from being destroyed by rats and mice.

Criminals hate cats, do a survey of the sort of men who hate cats and you'll see they are sociopathic.

Ay, rat-fans! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46044233)

The portal isn't a new open data initiative, but if you're a NYC resident and not a big fan of rodents, the site is worth a look.

It's also worth a look if you are a big fan of rodents.

Re:Ay, rat-fans! (1)

RocRizzo (1144133) | about 8 months ago | (#46047365)

How about if you are a homeless person, with a smart phone, and want dinner for nothing.

Found 'm! (1)

knarf (34928) | about 8 months ago | (#46044563)

Here [google.com] they are! Get them! Squash 'm! Eradicate 'm! Rid the world of this vermin!

NYC problem (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 8 months ago | (#46045511)

The rat problem in NYC seems to be legendary. But, if there wasn't as much for them to eat then it wouldn't be an issue any bigger than any other city, right? Are there better solutions found in treating the cause rather than controlling the symptom?

We already know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045567)

We know where the rats are, and we know their names. It's hard not to when they keep running for a political office.

Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46046057)

Im surprised NYC hasn't tried to impose taxes on rats..

Site needs some work (1)

treeves (963993) | about 8 months ago | (#46049003)

"You can generate maps of neighborhood rat inspectation [sic] data."

It's confusing that the high rat density areas are shown in green, since many of the areas happen to be parks and parks are normally green on maps. Plus, green usually means 'go' and is a pleasant color that makes me think "this is good".

It also struck me funny that the department is actually called "The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene"

Reminds me I need to pick up some mental floss at the drugstore.

Rats? In Quantity? Free Protein! (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | about 8 months ago | (#46050407)

You cook 'em right, they're good eating, rats. Vermin problem? No problem!
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