Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cities recently catalogued the best open data releases of 2012. She writes, “Last year, Cities named ten of its favorite metro datasets of 2011 from cities across North America, illustrating the breadth of what we might learn (regarding mosquito traps! misplaced vehicles! energy consumption!) in the still relatively young field of urban open data. For this year’s installment, we’re going one step further. Sure, raw data is great. But useful tools, maps and data visualizations built with said data are even better. Below, you’ll find our picks for 2012′s best open data releases from municipal vaults, with an emphasis on tools that can be used by anyone, not just developers and data geeks. If we missed your favorite, please add it in the comments.”

Number seven on the list is: “Rat sightings in New York City. No, New York doesn’t keep a special call-in line or data log just for rat spottings across the city. This data comes instead from the broader database of 311 service requests to city hall over the past three years. The good news? “This information is automatically updated daily.” And you can use the New York data portal to map the results. But we’re holding out for someone else to do this with a bunch of tiny rat icons.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy The Atlantic