Mayor Emanuel Expands Open Data on City Portal with Executive Order

Today, the City of Chicago expanded its open data efforts with an executive order by Mayor Emanuel.

“An open and transparent administration makes it easier for residents to hold their government accountable, but it also serves as a platform for innovative tools that improve the lives of all residents,” said Mayor Emanuel, in statement on the city website.

“Chicago’s vibrant technology and startup community will leverage this wealth of open, public data to create applications that will improve service delivery and lead to greater quality of service for residents and more public engagement in City government.”

The city released 21 new “high value” datasets today, including real-time traffic data from Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses, environmental data, liquor regulation, and recycling programs.

When asked what made these datasets high value, the Mayor’s Office responded via email.

“The datasets released today aren’t necessarily more critical than the more than 400 others that have been released,” wrote Caroline Weisser, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office. 

“They continue the commitment the administration has taken to being a leader in municipal open data. The executive order itself codifies the actions that Brett and John Tolva, the CTO, have taken over the past year and a half to pursue both open data policy and detailed analytics in tandem. Making a firm commitment to continue adding writable data to the dataportal about how the city works provides the raw materials for the City to collaborate and innovate with the developer community, which ultimately helps the City do a better job of serving Chicagoans.”

For more context on opening government, the Chicago way, read our feature from 2011 and more recent coverage of how Brett Goldstein, Chicago’s chief information officer and chief data officer, is using data in the public sector.

IBM Unveils CityForward.org Data Site for Urban Planners 
Source: Wall St. Journal
IBM  on Wednesday introduced CityForward.org,  a new free website intended to provide more complete data to city  planners, as well as community groups and individuals. The site doesn’t  actually create data, but aggregates data sets from various agencies in  more than 50 cities around the world, with data from another 30 cities  being added soon.
According to John Tolva, IBM’s director of citizenship and  technology, city data such as traffic patterns, crime statistics, or  consumer spending are already available to planners, but “fairly opaque”  and difficult to access because it’s published in PDFs and  spreadsheets, and often requires even government employees to navigate  complex inter-agency bureaucracies. Tolva said that putting the data  online makes it easier to read, chart, and correlate with data from  other agencies or localities.
For example, he told Digits, a researcher in San Francisco was able  to compare calls from a given neighborhood to the city’s 311 hot line  with 911 calls from the same neighborhood, and then correlate vagrancy  with a particular type of drug use. “It’s a more nuanced version of the  broken window theory” (which posits that vandalism leads to additional  criminal behavior), he said.
Tolva said he hopes that the site will contribute to a “renaissance  in the profession of urban planning,” which has often had to rely more  on anecdotes than data. He pointed to a chart evaluating the impact on traffic of increased tolls on bridges and tunnels in New York City as an example of how this kind of data could be used to influence  public debate on topics like congestion pricing — a failed 2008 proposal  to limit automobile traffic in Manhattan during the week. “The  discussion [in 2008] wasn’t exactly data-driven,” Tolva noted.

IBM Unveils CityForward.org Data Site for Urban Planners

Source: Wall St. Journal

IBM on Wednesday introduced CityForward.org, a new free website intended to provide more complete data to city planners, as well as community groups and individuals. The site doesn’t actually create data, but aggregates data sets from various agencies in more than 50 cities around the world, with data from another 30 cities being added soon.

According to John Tolva, IBM’s director of citizenship and technology, city data such as traffic patterns, crime statistics, or consumer spending are already available to planners, but “fairly opaque” and difficult to access because it’s published in PDFs and spreadsheets, and often requires even government employees to navigate complex inter-agency bureaucracies. Tolva said that putting the data online makes it easier to read, chart, and correlate with data from other agencies or localities.

For example, he told Digits, a researcher in San Francisco was able to compare calls from a given neighborhood to the city’s 311 hot line with 911 calls from the same neighborhood, and then correlate vagrancy with a particular type of drug use. “It’s a more nuanced version of the broken window theory” (which posits that vandalism leads to additional criminal behavior), he said.

Tolva said he hopes that the site will contribute to a “renaissance in the profession of urban planning,” which has often had to rely more on anecdotes than data. He pointed to a chart evaluating the impact on traffic of increased tolls on bridges and tunnels in New York City as an example of how this kind of data could be used to influence public debate on topics like congestion pricing — a failed 2008 proposal to limit automobile traffic in Manhattan during the week. “The discussion [in 2008] wasn’t exactly data-driven,” Tolva noted.

Staying  Healthy In Big Cities - Forbes.com
The core systems on which cities are based are becoming instrumented and interconnected, enabling new levels of intelligence. What if our newly technology-empowered cities could use better connections and advanced analytics to create “smarter health care”? A smarter health care system will improve connections across our urban networks of providers, patients, payers and researchers. It can generate richer sets of data, including integrated records for each patient to enable personalized health care. It can connect vast amounts of information to improve research, diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension—diseases that compromise the quality of life for citizens and pose a major strain on the economy.
Rob Merkel is the Global HealthCare Service Line Leader for IBM  Global Business Services. For 19 years he has helped many of the world’s  leading health care brands, governments and institutions tackle their  complex challenges.

Staying Healthy In Big Cities - Forbes.com

The core systems on which cities are based are becoming instrumented and interconnected, enabling new levels of intelligence. What if our newly technology-empowered cities could use better connections and advanced analytics to create “smarter health care”? A smarter health care system will improve connections across our urban networks of providers, patients, payers and researchers. It can generate richer sets of data, including integrated records for each patient to enable personalized health care. It can connect vast amounts of information to improve research, diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension—diseases that compromise the quality of life for citizens and pose a major strain on the economy.

Rob Merkel is the Global HealthCare Service Line Leader for IBM Global Business Services. For 19 years he has helped many of the world’s leading health care brands, governments and institutions tackle their complex challenges.

Technology  Review: Follow the Smart Phones

A service launched last week by Skyhook Wireless will make it possible for other businesses to predict, with new accuracy, which local bars will be hot at 8 p.m. on Monday night, or how many people will walk past a particular billboard poster at noon on Friday.
via techspotlight:

Technology Review: Follow the Smart Phones

A service launched last week by Skyhook Wireless will make it possible for other businesses to predict, with new accuracy, which local bars will be hot at 8 p.m. on Monday night, or how many people will walk past a particular billboard poster at noon on Friday.

via techspotlight: