Late last week the City posted new inspections reports, ending the 4 1/2 month long inspection drought. And the City has launched a new search interface to boot. While only year 2006 reports are in their new front-end, it appears to be much more complete than the previous reports posted. For example, in May 2005 605 reports were posted. The new system posted 1,120 reports for May 2006.
I’ve also seen establishments that had not been updated in YEARS finally have a report show up. My standing example is Uncle Julio’s on Lemmon Ave. It did not have a report published between December 2003 and February 2006. There is now a report for March 2006.
The City’s new publishing system appears to have very little lag time between when an establishment is inspected and when it can be found in their search page.
I will be importing new reports from the City’s database once a week. Why not more frequently? OK, put your geek hat on. The City’s database is not normalized around unique establishment names and addresses. So CICI’S PIZZA can appear as CICI’S PIZZA #41 one period and CICI’S PIZZA RESTAURANT the next. And in the past the addresses could even vary.
While I have some snazzy tools to manage this process — here is a screenshot — I can’t safely automate this step. But this work — and it was a huge amount of work when I did the first data import/merge in 2005 — is why you can view and chart all inspections for a given establishment.
Oh, and for any programmers out there. Yes, I do keep track of previous versions of an establishment name and even global mappings and automatically pick these up. But you’d be surprised at how frequently the spelling and wording changes from one inspection to the next! :-(
Please contact me if you see any errors or omissions! Thanks. -Mike