Saturday 19 January 2019

Boffins in project to solve city problems

DUBLIN'S vast store of council data is being made available so we can better understand what makes our city tick.

The information will be accessible by innovators and researchers to help deal with problems such as traffic congestion and water shortages.

The capital's four local authorities have agreed to open their files so that technology and science whizzes might use the data to try to solve some of the daily difficulties facing citizens.


The massive quantity of facts, figures and statistics captured by the councils everyday could be used to develop, for example, smartphone apps, city council executive Declan Wallace told the Herald.

Researchers at universities could also avail of the records to devise solutions to long-standing problems.

Mr Wallace described data as the "new oil", which can be used by people to come up with inventions and create jobs.

He said, while the council may just look at it as information, other people might look at it in a different way and ask what is it telling us about the city.

"It's happening the world over. Data is what people use to generate research and innovation," he added.

Mr Wallace said it is intended to set up a general database which everyone can access.

However, the up-to-date livestreamed information on traffic and water will only be available to a membership group, which will include businesses and third-level institutions.

It is hoped "a lot of research would take place based on this streamed data", Mr Wallace said.

The project, called Dublinked, builds on the pioneering work of Fingal Open Data which has championed the open-data concept in the capital. The National University of Ireland Maynooth is managing the initiative.

The project's website states it aims to "sense, measure and record a living, breathing city" to gain a better understanding of "what makes a city tick and ultimately create new industries in this rapidly developing sector area".


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