21 Apr Cities #data magnets
Three years ago, for the first time in history, China’s urban population surpassed that of rural areas. Over 700 million people live in China’s cities, double that of the entire population of the United States and 12 times the UK. Nobel economics laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz has cited urbanisation in China, along with technology developments, as the two most important issues that will shape the world’s development during the 21st century.
City planners and developers around world are wrestling with increasing populations, scarce resources and limited finances. One thing that is not limited is data, though less progressive city managers are restricting its use. Smart use of city data, from travel to energy supply and pollution to health provision, can ease some of the burden on cities and make the lives of its citizens better.
Governments are pushing for more cities to embrace open data, as they see both the commercial and social benefits that can be derived.
www.data.gov is the home of the US government’s open data with 200,000 datasets covering topics relating to business, finance, health, local government, education, climate, public safety, energy and the list goes on. Data can be sourced at the Federal and City levels. Open government data also powers software applications that help people make informed decisions – from choosing financial aid options for college to finding the safest consumer products and vehicles.
Here in the UK, www.data.gov.uk has over 31,000 datasets as the government releases public data to become more transparent and foster innovation. Some of this data was available before, but data.gov.uk brings it together in one searchable website.
Increasingly public bodies are sharing more of the data with the view that others can make best use of it in ways that will further their own goals. Developing a better functioning society across commercial, social and cultural lines. Organisations like the Open Data Institute (theodi.org) are key players in making this happen as they are pushing for common standards for data so more can be shared and used more effectively.
Some of our key clients are cities who need to construct compelling narratives from complex and dense data sources. With the increasing draw of cities for all businesses each has to define and sell its own story when attracting the fast growing, knowledge rich global companies and investors who are in so much demand. Part of this process is illuminating the talents already embedded in the city and outlining the eco system that nurtures successful people and companies to thrive in their region. The data is out there, but it needs filtering, analysing and showcasing.
Our goal at Curator Technologies is to help other make sense of all this data that we create and access through public or private datasets. Most of us have little time to swift through reams of data to find the nuggets that help us at work or home. We develop tools to elucidate the stories that we need telling. Our visuals are designed to clarify and articulate data for all, in a beautiful way.
Above all we are about turning this information into knowledge, for you and all of our clients.