3 Cities Optimizing Open Data

Cities worldwide are taking advantage of new technology platforms to improve efficiency, accountability and access to resources

What Happened?

Cities worldwide are taking advantage of new technology platforms to improve efficiency, accountability and access to resources.


Bristol in the UK recently announced its smart city operating system designed - Bristol Open - to connect developers and service providers with city agencies and infrastructure. The software-defined network will collect and store city data on a central platform accessible to third parties to enable providers to create better solutions to meet civic demands, Tech World reported.

Because the platform is software-defined, developers will be able to allocate bandwidth according to user needs which ensures there are enough resources for all users. The openly programmable aspect of the network will allow third party users to build devices and applications on the data platform seamlessly so the network can grow and adapt as technology evolves.

The open standard framework ensures smart technologies are interoperable with each other, which enables more efficient city operations. Smart technologies will collect real-time data and allow users to make immediate decisions regarding a variety of community activities such as:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Waste management
  • Entertainment events
  • Energy supply

Furthermore, other major cities worldwide will be able to use Bristol’s network to test their own Internet of Things type infrastructure to develop similar platforms. The more cities that participate in the simulations, the easier it will be for international authorities to determine what technology needs must be met to connect communities worldwide, Tech World reported.


In Chicago, Illinois, a project has been launched to increase access to public information. The ChicagoCode platform, part of the State Decoded project, aims to offer the public accessible code websites allowing users to download municipal information and laws, while providing tools to understand more complex information and terminology. The goal of the project is to equip citizens with the information and tools to understand their municipal rights and engage in civic activities, Gov Exec reported.

Chicago officials want to break down barriers standing in the way of open communication between residents and local government. There are plans to expand the site to include analysis of city legislation, regulations, court rulings and legal opinions in an effort to provide answers to legal questions of residents and business owners. The city hopes to make it easier for residents to navigate legal processes with a one-stop online resource.

San Francisco

Also investing in an Internet of Things project, San Francisco is working on a software-as-a-service platform to consolidate city data in an easy-to-use medium. The solution maps data created by cities onto a 3D interactive interface that can easily be accessed and understood by everyday citizens.

The goal of the SaaS project is to incorporate the city’s data into the platform for analysis and display. The technology can layer different sets of data to create a full-scope understanding of community activities and problems. By visualizing each component of the city’s operations and infrastructure, the platform should help officials identify more successful solutions, GCN reported.

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