Sometimes there is problems uploading shapefiles to CartoDB. Those problems can either be because the projection is not recognized or the encoding is wrongly detected. On those cases the easiest way to solve them is by using the Open Source software called QGIS. Of course we will take a look at the failed imports too, but meanwhile this is a screencast showing how you can get them to work.
For the NYC BigApps contest, CartoDB is one of the APIs that can be used. In this demo we show you how to use CartoDB together with data from NYC Open Data portal to have an API to find the closest bathroom in NY. Great for mobile applications.