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Website launched to make Durham sanitation ratings more transparent

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N.C. Food Inspector uses public county health inspection data to display sanitation grades and reports. N.C. Food Inspector uses public county health inspection data to display sanitation grades and reports.
DURHAM, N.C. -

A group of local developers are making it easier the find the sanitation of a restaurant before customers ever walk in the door.

Code for Durham, which is the Durham chapter of the Code for America Brigade, formed about a year ago and this week launched a new website allowing customers to find the sanitation scores for nearby restaurants and details of any violations.

The website is available in English and Spanish, and for the time being is specific only to Durham County.

N.C. Food Inspector is the first project from the group, which uses open county health inspection data, or data that is public but not easily accessible to most people.

"We originally focused on this app as an easy win to show Durham city and Durham County what you can do with open data," explained Colin Copeland, captain of Code for Durham.

Members of Code for Durham volunteer their time, and say the project is not a money-making effort. Copeland works as a chief technical officer by day at Caktus Group in Durham.

"I wouldn’t say it's solving a great social problem or anything. It was more like, 'Here's an example of what you can do,'" Copeland said.

The Brigade is also looking at other projects that could include crime data, a mobile app for Durham’s greenways and parks, and working with non-profits.

The group will present its N.C. Food Inspector website at a conference called CityCamp NC in Raleigh later on May 30 and 31 in hopes that Wake, Orange and other counties will add their data.

The Brigade said the plan is to expand the service.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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