LECTURE: Program Your City, November 15 2011, Harvard University, Boston

Marcus Foth is giving a talk about open data and urbanism:

Program Your City: Legal and Governance Issues of an Urban Integrated Open Data API
Marcus Foth, Queensland University of Technology

Tuesday, November 15, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person via the form below
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

The physical city is covered with an increasing number of layers of digital information. At the same time, there is a significant trend towards incorporating location data into web and mobile applications: The urbanisation of the internet, and the digitisation of the city.

Recent ‘Government 2.0’ initiatives have led to the creation of public data catalogues such as data.gov.au (U.S.), data.gov.uk (U.K.), data.gov.au (Australia) on federal government levels, and datasf.org (San Francisco) and data.london.gov.uk (London) on municipal levels. In most cases, these initiatives produce mere collections of data repositories. However, proprietary database formats and the lack of an open application programming interface (API) often limit the full potential that could be achieved by allowing these data sets to be cross-queried.

This talk presents the proposal for an information substrate with an integrated open data API – in a way, an operating system for cities that integrates three types of data sources:

  • Public government data (traffic, public transport, health, population, etc.)
  • Social media data (eg., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)
  • Sensor network data (domestic energy monitoring, river gauges, weather, etc.)

The primary goal is to put intuitively accessible real-time data into the hands of citizens and residents and unleash the creative capacity of programmers and end-users who will be able to create, share (or sell) their own custom-made web and mobile based decision-support tools and applications that take advantage of data mash-ups comprising all three types of data sources and tailored to specific needs. The talk will present a number of potential demonstrator applications that illustrate the capabilities of the proposed infrastructure with a view to specifically discuss the legal, policy, copyright and goverance issues and implications that may arise.

About Marcus
Associate Professor Marcus Foth is the founder and director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Principal Research Fellow with the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology.

Professor Foth’s research explores human-computer interaction design and development at the intersection of people, place and technology with a focus on urban informatics, social media, ubiquitous computing and mobile applications. More…

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