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About Cards for Community

For now, this isn't a game. These cards, plus our introductory intro to open data, help you learn three things:

  • how to sort, filter, group by, and roll-up data
  • how to use NYC's open data portal and/or basic spreadsheet functions
  • core NYC 311 service request data atributes

If you are using these cards for the first time, we highly recommend that you read our Cards for Community Lab and review our companion slides. (Note - Eventually, we'll migrate all of these files to GitHub. If you want to help us, please visit our project issues and help out.)


This work is copyrighted by BetaNYC, via the Fund for the City of New York, and Katie Edmonds. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

How to play

There are four types of cards: Action cards, Column cards, Data Value cards, and Story cards.

The goal is to sequence action, column, and data value cards to answer the story card. If you want to enrich the playing experience, you should either explore the sample data via a spreadsheet application or use the NYC 311 open data dataset. Playing the these will teach you about data analysis, specific analytical functions, and NYC's government.

  1. Sort cards into piles: Action, Column Name, Data Value and Story.
  2. Choose a Story card.
  3. From the middle section of the Story card, select the required Data Actions (in Blue) and Data Columns (in Orange) that you’ll need to build your answer.
  4. Now is the time to customize your story. Choose Data Value cards to match the Columns in a way that tells YOUR story, or if you can’t find the value you are looking for, take a blank Data Value card, and write it in.
  5. Lay out your cards in a way that helps you tell the story.
  6. Read your story out loud (refer to the bottom section of the card for cues).
  7. Now, once you are familiar with the NYC Open Data portal, you can plug in the necessary steps to determine an accurate, up-to-date answer.

Files & Data Sources

Adobe Illustrator These are the most up to date version of the cards. These art decks need to be compiled into printable sheets. file

PDFs or Images

These files can be printed via any printer. (Note - these are too big to store on github. You can download them from our open google drive.)

Data source - NYC 311 Service Request data - from NYC’s Open Data portal

Data dictionary terms - NYC 311 Service Request data - from NYC’s Open Data portal




  • Katie Edmonds



Types of cards

Types of Cards:

Story Cards How many service requests have been made in my Zip Code? How many Heat/Hot Water service requests have been made in my Community Board? What is the Borough with the lowest number of service requests? Which City Agency has the most service requests? What are the top ten Complaint Types in my Community Board? Where are individual service requests located within my Community Board? How can I see the spatial distribution of service requests in my Community Board?

Action Cards Filter (x15 cards) Group By (x1 card) Count (x1 card) Sort Sort Ascending (x1 Card) Sort Descending (x1 Card) Limit to 10 (x1 Card) Limit to 20 (x1 Card) Roll up / Pivot Table (x1 Card) Make a Point Map (x1 Card) Make a Heat Map (x1 Card)

Column Cards: Unique Key Created Date Status Agency Agency Name - (This is different than agency) Complaint Type Descriptor Incident Address* Community Board* Borough* Incident Zip Code* Location (Lat,Long)*

*Note these cards all feature the word “Geography” above the column name.

Data Value Cards Blank Data Cards Borough: BROOKLYN Borough: QUEENS Borough: MANHATTAN Borough: BRONX Borough: STATEN ISLAND Community Board: 01 BROOKLYN Community Board: 16 BROOKLYN Community Board: 11 MANHATTAN Community Board: 01 MANHATTAN Community Board: 04 BRONX Community Board: 12 BRONX Community Board: 01 QUEENS Community Board: 12 QUEENS Community Board: 01 STATEN ISLAND Community Board: 03 STATEN ISLAND Status: Started Status: Assigned Status: Pending Status: Closed Status: Open Complaint Type: Noise - Residential Complaint Type: HEATING Complaint Type: Street Condition Complaint Type: HEAT/HOT WATER Complaint Type: PLUMBING Complaint Type: Blocked Driveway Complaint Type: GENERAL CONSTRUCTION Complaint Type: Water System Complaint Type: Illegal Parking Complaint Type: Noise Descriptor: Loud Music/Party Descriptor: HEAT Descriptor: Street Light Out Descriptor: No Receipt Descriptor: Pothole Descriptor: No Access Descriptor: Banging/Pounding Descriptor: CEILING Descriptor: VERMIN Descriptor: Graffiti Agency: HPD Agency: NYPD Agency: DOT Agency: DEP Agency: DPR Agency: DOB Agency: DOHMH Agency: DOF Agency: TLC Agency: DCA

Change Log

2017.12.13 - Read me and files uploaded for sharing.


We've created a teaching tool that helps individuals learn the City's open data portal and the portal's datasets.






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