Urban data platform

5 Outside-The-Box Ideas To Change U.S. Cities For The Better – Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayor’s Challenge is uncovering ways “for local governments to improve the way their cities work by taking on social and economic problems, improving customer service, enhancing accountability to the public, and making government work more effectively.”  Among the ideas is one from Chicago for building an open-source program to analyze data in real time.

That sounds at first blush like what a lot of cities are trying to do with their data. But Chicago’s open-source idea has a twist–it will be the first system that can conduct real-time pattern detection using data that comes in from disparate data sources. Most municipalities have all sorts of different legacy systems (like 911 and 311), and typically, governments try to standardize them across the enterprise. That’s a pricey way to go, though. Instead, says Goldstein, Chicago is taking a big data platform, putting it in the middle of all these legacy systems, and extracting data rapidly from the different sources. “It’s the idea of creating a platform with data of all shapes and sizes,” explains Goldstein.

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