Three Cities Using Open-Source Data

Mapping tools and work with geospatial data are essential for cities to address today’s urban challenges — from traffic safety to disaster response and neighborhood health. The open-source mapping company Mapbox is collaborating with Melbourne, West Midlands Combined Authority in UK, and Bloomington, Indiana, to gather first-hand insights on their particular local needs. With these partner cities we will build data-driven tools using mobile sensor data, which will be available as open source tools to other cities later on.

Source: Mapbox

Survival of the Fittest Is Out, Survival of the Connected Is In

We’re living in an era where digitization and automation are transforming how we work together, including in the social sector. Nonprofits of all sizes are now seeking out partners across geographies to execute a shared vision in real time. Big data can foster partnerships. However, combining data from different platforms in different formats may pose a challenge to most nonprofits, which lack the resources of for-profit businesses for data analysis.

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Helping Smart Cities Harness Big Data

Harnessing the power of open data is key to developing the smart cities of the future. But not all governments have the capacity — be that funding or human capital — to collect all the necessary information and turn it into a tool. Mapbox, an open-source mapping company, is working with three cities that are ready to take on their most pressing issues through data.

Source: CityLab

From Tunis to Tahrir and Beyond

Vint Cerf warns if we don’t build better systems for data, “people will lose trust in the internet, in which case its utility will begin to dissipate.”

Cerf is Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist and a father of the internet (standards and technologies he co-created in the 70s still form the basis of the net today). He believes the internet itself is not a right, but rather an enabler of rights.

One such enabler, Google’s Project Loon, will connect the world’s most remote areas with broadband balloons traveling at the edge of space. If successful, it could help to circumvent bans imposed by authoritarian regimes, as seen during the Arab Spring.

“I harbor this hope as a technologist, that there will be tools available to let people make their conversations private on an end-to-end basis,” Cerf says. “To open up what would otherwise be a very closed environment.”

Smart Cities Need Smart Citizens

Fellow comms geek Alicja Peszkowska thinks data is as much a part of creating smart citizens as it is smart cities: “When you create a community, you create an environment where social change can happen.” Working with orgs like TechSoup and the National Gallery of Denmark, Peszkowska is at the front line of open data. “Transparency of political processes translates into civic participation,” she writes in her open data manifesto. “The more citizens understand, the more they engage.”

An Introduction to the Federated (Distributed) Social Network

Federated social networks (also known as distributed social networks) are a vital step toward fulfilling values often lacking in the existing social networking ecosystem: user-control, diversity of services, innovation and more. The best way for social networking to become safer, more flexible and more innovative is to distribute the ability and authority to the world’s users and developers, whose various needs and imaginations can do far more than what any single company could achieve. While there is still plenty of active development taking place on these software projects, the possibilities of these systems make them worth thinking about now.

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

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