I’ve already voiced my own suspicion that New York City’s Big Apps competition is a deft end-run on an actual open data bill in New York City. Nonetheless, some 85 applications built on the city’s currently public data sets are available now to explore and vote on through early January. They include a handful of legislator lookup tools and an unexpected number of park spot finders. There’s also a graffiti finder designed for the curious dual purpose of helping steer both Wildstyle fans and the city’s Anti-Graffiti Unit paint trucks straight to new throw-ups.

Other gems that I’ve been watching include ProPublica’s great and very offline crowdsourcing efforts as part of their coverage of police shootings in New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina.