The city released an interactive map of 311 complaints this week, pin-dropped with complaints filed neighborhood by neighborhood—from the benign-and-amusing (there was a rat sitting at 63 Pearl Street in Dumbo earlier this week) to the dehumanizing (at least now I can steer clear of the "homeless encampment" someone reported over by 150 Water Street).
The latter example, though simply a visual representation of public information, does recall other recent efforts to reduce the homeless to statistics.
Quality of life GPSing aside, though, the map seems downright helpful: it marks road construction that might cause traffic, subway delays, and—likely to the chagrin of food establishments—restaurant grades and reports of food contamination. Under certain circumstances—like restaurant inspections conducted in response to a complaint, or restaurants that aren't yet open—establishments don't get official letter grades. This map shows you what the grade would have been.
For example: "PANNA II GARDEN INDIAN RESTAURANT at 93 1st Avenue was not graded but would have received a C grade recently." Click for more details, and you learn that the Indian restaurant was fined for "unprotected food." That's not reflected in the restaurant's actual letter grade, but now you know. Maybe the prospect of unprotected food doesn't bother you, and you'd eat there anyway.
The map, which is still in beta, can also be vaguely poetic. Take the East Village: this week, a mouse was spotted at 96 3rd Avenue, a good Samaritan reported a misaligned street plate at 225 East 10th Street, and we learn that a container will be placed on 2nd Avenue between East 12 Street and East 13 Street next Monday.
New York City has the greatest minutia in the WORLD!