Cities around the world are now focused on urban resilience, or the ability to withstand and recover from physical, social, and economic challenges that result from natural disasters, the forces of climate change, congestion, or other man-made disturbances. With the implementation of HAZUR and Libelium sensors, the territory of La Garrotxa can readily manage critical facets of its infrastructure and public services. Libelium's Waspmote Plug & Sense! solution power three main application configurations, measuring parameters for forest fire prevention, river flood monitoring, and ambient control, such as air quality and greenhouse gases.
The fifth-generation road, R5G, will be tested in the Seine-et-Marne area.
In November 2014, the Ile-de-France département’s general council signed an agreement with the French Institute of Sciences and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (Ifsttar), making a stretch of the D199 road available to them for testing the new generation of French roads, known as R5G.
Road networks receive considerable amounts of energy in the form of wind, solar radiation or friction. R5G is therefore designed to produce the energy necessary for its operation, signage, maintenance and even potential surplus, which could be sold on to third parties. ...
We need to find ways to better secure the Internet of Things, or be prepared to face the consequences.
IP-enabled devices have become much more than just a fashion or trend; they’re now a necessity that’s being consumed by millions worldwide. According to Gartner, more than 4.9 billion connected devices are forecasted to be in use by 2015, irreversibly disrupting society – for better or worse – as we know it.
Consumer technology has never seen such a whirlwind of low-cost and mass-sale Internet-connected devices, raising the question of whether companies are only interested in driving sales and not necessarily in the security implications. You probably know the answer by now, as you may have already heard about firmware vulnerabilities in IP cameras or hacked baby monitors. Will this be the future? ...
Data officials in Chicago built an automated extract transform load (ETL) framework to more quickly and easily open city data.
About a year ago, the city government embedded Pentaho Data Integration (PDI), a graphical extract-transform-load (ETL) tool with pre-built and custom components to process big data, into its OpenData ETL Utility Kit. The kit provides several utilities and a framework to help governments extract data from a database and upload it to an open data portal using automated ETL processes. ...
Machines talking: Today, we can study the feedback coming from the machines that talk to us, so we can plan for a better society tomorrow.
Are you listening?
There is a constant silent sound from all the machines out there. They are speaking to us, but are we listening to them? I believe that there are a lot of interesting facts and insights that we can gain if we just start to listen to the bits and bytes that are continuously passing by us. There is ample opportunity to better understand society from the data it generates. ...
As everyday objects get connected, brace yourself for network effects, says one economist.
Product companies compete by building ever bigger factories to turn out ever cheaper widgets. But a very different sort of economics comes into play when those widgets start to communicate. It’s called the network effect—when each new user of a product makes its value higher. Think of the telephone a century ago. The greater the number of people who used Bell’s invention, the more valuable it became to all of them. The telephone became a platform for countless new businesses its inventor never imagined. ...
(2015). Knowing and governing cities through urban indicators, city benchmarking and real-time dashboards. Regional Studies, Regional Science: Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 6-28. doi: 10.1080/21681376.2014.983149
Since the mid-1990s a plethora of indicator projects have been developed and adopted by cities seeking to measure and monitor various aspects of urban systems. These have been accompanied by city benchmarking endeavours that seek to compare intra- and inter-urban performance. More recently, the data underpinning such projects have started to become more open to citizens, more real-time in nature generated through sensors and locative/social media, and displayed via interactive visualisations and dashboards that can be accessed via the internet. In this paper, we examine such initiatives arguing that they advance a narrowly conceived but powerful realist epistemology – the city as visualised facts – that is reshaping how managers and citizens come to know and govern cities. We set out how and to what ends indicator, benchmarking and dashboard initiatives are being employed by cities. We argue that whilst these initiatives often seek to make urban processes and performance more transparent and to improve decision making, they are also underpinned by a naive instrumental rationality, are open to manipulation by vested interests, and suffer from often unacknowledged methodological and technical issues. Drawing on our own experience of working on indicator and dashboard projects, we argue for a conceptual re-imaging of such projects as data assemblages – complex, politically-infused, socio-technical systems that, rather than reflecting cities, actively frame and produce them.
“Everybody’s in favor of open data when it’s easy, when it’s quick,” says Headd, 45. “If you’re really open, then why are you not giving me information that will let me evaluate the quality of the job you’re doing? It’s a new way of interacting with people you serve. … And I think that reality was not apparent to most people when Philly started on this.”
He recalls meeting with people from the city’s Department of Finance to explain in careful detail how to release sensitive expenditure data and noticing midway through the meeting that no one was taking notes.
“I realized they don’t expect me to be here anymore. Or they don’t expect me to have the ability to tell them what to do anymore,” says Headd, “And I said it’s time to go, even though it was the highlight of my professional career.”
After one year and seven months, in April 2014, Headd stepped down as Philadelphia’s chief data officer. ...
Startup launches open data platform for UK addresses to create biggest open address data set.
Have you ever typed in an address into Google Maps and couldn’t find the place you were looking for, tried to send mail to a specific place and it always came back, or tried and failed to access address data for your startup? If you answered yes to any of these perils, you understand how challenging it is for a country to keep its address records updated and open.
The London based startup and open data advocacy organization Open Addresses UK wants to change all of that by inviting the public to collect and validate housing addresses to build the biggest UK open address dataset ever. To do so, they launched UK’s first open and free address list on Wednesday, calling on individuals and companies to crowdsource information. They presented the initiative at the #GeoMob event in London. ....
The Internet of Things (IoT) has a data problem. Well, four data problems. Walking the halls of CES in Las Vegas last week, it’s abundantly clear that the IoT is hot. Everyone is claiming to be the world’s smartest something. But that sprawl of devices, lacking context, with fragmented user groups, is a huge challenge for the burgeoning industry.
What the IoT needs is data. Big data and the IoT are two sides of the same coin. The IoT collects data from myriad sensors; that data is classified, organized, and used to make automated decisions; and the IoT, in turn, acts on it. It’s precisely this ever-accelerating feedback loop that makes the coin as a whole so compelling.
Nowhere are the IoT’s data problems more obvious than with that darling of the connected tomorrow known as the wearable. Yet, few people seem to want to discuss these problems ...
Google has managed to map most of the world. Recently, the company offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how it built the Google Maps application using a combination of technology (the Google Street View car); expansion (the acquisition of satellite-imagery startup Skybox); and algorithms (computer vision, photogrammetry, mapping).
In 2009, Stellari cofounded AgSquared, a software company focused on small-farm planning, management, and record keeping. Stellari and her AgSquared cofounder Jeff Froikin-Gordon met at Cornell graduate school at a time when agriculture and big data were converging. The first plant genomes were being sequenced and these scientific advances encouraged graduate students like Stellari and Froikin-Gordon to start thinking about big data questions. ...
India and the US on Tuesday decided to set up three task forces to jointly develop Visakhapatnam, Ajmer and Allahabad as smart cities. While Ajmer was chosen for its large Muslim population, Allahabad was picked for being a Hindu pilgrimage centre.
Visakhapatnam was chosen as the state government was unable to reconstruct it after last year’s Hud Hud cyclone, said officials. Incidentally, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also belongs to the state.
Every once in a while, I am asked what I “make.” A hack day might require it, or a conference might ask me to describe “what I make” so it can go on my name tag.
I’m always uncomfortable with it. I’m uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity ("maker," rather than "someone who makes things"). But I have much deeper concerns.
An identity built around making things—of being “a maker”—pervades technology culture. There’s a widespread idea that “People who make things are simply different [read: better] than those who don’t.” ....
The combination of big data and advanced analytics can help us find answers to questions that may otherwise stay unknown. But what questions are we asking of our big data sets, and what data are we using? The answers are important, and point to the need for a humanist’s touch in big data projects.
In a recent TED talk and report, Susan Etlinger, a social media analytics expert at the Altimeter Group, elaborated on the need to understand the context surrounding what we do with big data. Beyond just avoiding the types of logical traps that big data can lure us into–such as mistaking correlation for causation—taking a more humanist approach will help big data practitioners not get better answers to our questions, but also maintain better relationships with their constituent communities. ...
Contemporary ideas about data and privacy are tied up inextricably with language choices.
Contemporary ideas about data are tied up inextricably with metaphors around data. As a concept, data constantly eludes crisp definition. It is everywhere and nowhere, encompassing a mind-boggling array of people, activities, and concepts. One dictionary, taking up the challenge of definition, unhelpfully offers that data is “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” But this problem is not unique to data; humans are forced all the time to deal with broad concepts they cannot fully articulate. So people do here what they do in all cases—lean on the crutch of metaphor. Rather than talk about data directly, we analogize to better understand situations that seem to line up with the problem at hand....
Will 2015 be the year of the connected pacifier, the almighty gesture-control ring or printable, edible cupcake frosting? Probably not, but I now feel less guilt-ridden about last year's endorsement of a slow cooker programmable and controllable by a smartphone app.
Smart cities are coming–and they want to make your life more balanced. With community infrastructure becoming replete with sensors, daily decisions will soon be based on data, creating harmony with the people in your community and making sustainability natural.
Smart cities are the latest craze across Africa. But should we be as excited about them as public discourse says we should? LSE’s Jonathan Silver thinks not.
The recent announcement by IBM establishing its twelfth global laboratory in Nairobi has followed a rise in news about Smart cities across urban Africa. These include IBM’s inclusion of Durban and Abuja in its Smarter Cities Challenge, a plethora of summits and conferences, together with planning for a series of new smart urban extensions on the periphery of major conurbations such as Accra and Kinshasa. Together these developments are generating an ever growing clamour concerning the potential of smart urbanism to transform urban Africa through the integration of digital technologies across networked infrastructures, offering resource efficiencies, global competitiveness, safer cities and ultimately much greater control over the built environment and everyday life.....
With cities poised to invest now in infrastructure that will last for decades, huge opportunities lie ahead.
Last year marked an important tipping point: for the first time, half of the global population lives in cities. Cities currently add 1.4 million people each week and this population growth comes with new buildings, roads and transport systems.
In fact, 75 percent of the infrastructure that will be in place by 2050 does not exist today. With cities poised to invest now in infrastructure that will last for decades, huge opportunities lie ahead. But without major shifts now in how we manage established as well as rapidly growing cities, we risk losing out on the potential of urbanisation to create more inclusive and prosperous societies.
2015 offers a big chance for the international community to help put cities on a more sustainable path. We at the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI) believe that we must seize this opportunity, because cities and urban mobility are key to a sustainable future. ...
From the 2014 Strata Conference + Hadoop World in New York City. We are being watched – by companies, by the government, by our neighbors. Technology has made powerful surveillance tools available to everyone. And now some of us are investing in counter-surveillance techniques and tactics. Julia Angwin discusses how much she has spent trying to protect her privacy, and raises the question of whether we want to live in a society where only the rich can buy their way out of ubiquitous surveillance. ...
When mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid. These days every city claims to be a “smart” city, or is becoming one, with heavy investments in modern information and computing technology to attract businesses and make the city competitive.
But when mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid, threatening to exacerbate inequality and undermine the social cooperation essential to successful cities. After researching leading cities around the world, we’ve concluded that truly smart cities will be those that deploy modern technology in building a new urban commons to support communal sharing.
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