Our City Data Approach
Data is everywhere in our city. In the London of the future it will pour off people, buildings and vehicles. Its capacity to deliver insight and value to change the way the city, communities and services work is only now starting to be properly realised. This is why data is a key plank of the Mayor’s Smart London Plan.
As with the stuff itself, data producers, consumers, analysts, innovators and curious citizens are abundant. London is blessed and our digital ecosystem thrives. The GLA’s job is to first, ensure that the supply and exploitation of city data supports this environment and second, make sure that it is communicating how it wishes to see city data used to generate social, economic and environmental value.
Open Data, Open Discussions
This Datastore is designed to reflect the way in which the digital ecosystem itself operates. Built on open source, it is an open and collaborative environment, where requests for new data can be made and ideas brought to fruition, and where we want may put out consortium calls to capitalise on funding opportunities. There will be difficult discussions – about how data is shared, whether it should always be open, and how we protect commercial and individual rights as we consider how we use data to best effect? We believe these conversations should take place here, out in the open.
Strengthening the London Data Family
Bodies like TfL have achieved world renown for their commitment to free, open data by default. Over 30 data sets, including real-time travel feeds, are already available to developers via the TfL website and this GLA London Datastore. These feeds are powering around 200 travel information products which are widening the reach of information to make the lives of our customers and road users easier. TfL are constantly looking for other data sets to make available in open format and will be consulting later this year to see what further information customers and data users would like us to provide in this way.
We now want others to follow their lead.
The City Data Team will always try to help on practical or policy-related matters. When our expertise runs out, we will see what we can do point you in direction of others better able to support you.
Value of Open City Data
Most of all, London Datastore is the place which proves the value of open data and turns it into an accepted and strong currency in the future development of this city. The identification of data as an important future resource for this city in the London Infrastructure Plan is a signal that we need to charts a course now to the active use of data in the smart city.
Now is the time to think differently
So for example, can we conceive of a more joined up approach to making available data to citizens so they and community groups are more aware of the benefits of their local green infrastructure and able to take more ownership of something which is often taken for granted. Better awareness of the benefits and functions would, hopefully, inform decisions about how it is better managed. For example, if London’s communities were provided with better information about the capacity of their drainage networks plus information about rainfall events, and the consequent adverse impacts of peak flows and pollution events, it could encourage more co-ordinated and collaborative action on installing sustainable urban drainage. Plus over time they would ‘see’ the benefits of their collaborative action. How would a community organise itself around a community energy project, driven by individual and collective data? Could this site be the data platform?
— The City Data Team.