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2015 Technology Exchange: Charlie Catlett, Open Data and Instrumenting Cities

SOURCE: VIDEO: Presented on October 6, 2015 at the Internet2 2015 Technology Exchange in Cleveland, OH

Cities are increasingly publishing data about their operations while also internally using data to improve the effectiveness and quality of services through optimization, predictive analytics, and other methods. This represents new opportunities for collaboration between cities, national laboratories, and universities in areas ranging from scalable data infrastructure to tools for data analytics, along with challenges such as replicability of solutions between cities, integrating and validating data for scientific investigation, and protecting privacy. For many urban questions, new data sources will be required with greater spatial and/or temporal resolution, driving innovation in the use of sensor in mobile devices as well as embedded sensing infrastructure in the built environment. Catlett will discuss the work that Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago are doing in partnership with the City of Chicago and other cities through the Urban Center for Computation and Data, focusing on key scalable data infrastructure, data analytics, and urban-scale sensor networks.

Plenario: Changing How We Use Open Data

Source: Sean Thornton, Smart-Data City Solutions

Plenario breaks free from borders to provide data from datasets and portals around the country, all on the same continuum of time and space (or, simply put, one map).  This means that with one query, users can access, combine, download, and visualize disparate sets of data all in the same place.  Plenario currently has data from the portals of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Washington, D.C., Illinois, and New York State, among others.  Since its design accommodates data from any open portal, international data can also be imported.   Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde, for instance, has installed Plenario to integrate data from multiple UK cities.

Plenario, a Powerful City-Data Tool, Debuts

Source: Whet Moser, Chicago Magazine

Chicago’s open-data community takes another step forward with a site that makes working with that data easier, faster, and more comprehensible.


Former Chicago CIO Brett Goldstein talks about new civic data hub Plenario

Source: WBEZ

Many conversations around data are marked by a feeling that there is more information available than society can handle or properly analyze. The same feeling goes for open government data. Stores such as the city of Chicago data portal has a large supply of information, but joining the different sets together to find relationships – especially between agencies and sources – can be time consuming and a barrier to entry for some.

This week a group headed by Brett Goldstein and Charlie Catlett at the University of Chicago Computation Institute’s Urban Center for Computation and Data and Argonne National Laboratory released Plenario, a tool they hope will help those interested in civic data access it more easily.

MORE>, the next stage in open data

Source: Jonathan Giuffrida, Smart Chicago Collaborative was conceived as a centralized hub for open datasets from around the country. Funded by the NSF and the MacArthur Foundation, and led by a team of prominent open data scientists, researchers, and developers, it is a collaborative, open-source solution to the problems inherent to the rapid growth in government data portals.