Historically advanced cities, thick but smart data, and easy-to-assemble algorithms – extracting meaning from unlikely sources.

Drivers’ mobile data to beat traffic jams

York may be one of the most historical cities in the UK, but with the announcement of a major new trial – using drivers’ mobile phone data to ease traffic congestion – it will become one of the technologically advanced. The system will collect and process anonymous signatures from mobile phones and sat nav, as well as roadside sensors, to track how cars move around the city. The system will also include data about weather patterns and allow officers to change traffic light sequences based on the weather, with the eventual aim of making the changes automatic.

Flatpack algorithms

Flatpack algorithms

We all know how easy it is to assemble IKEA furniture, right? Well… Anyway, it’s easier than learning complex algorithms – which can be particularly challenging when viewed through code or words alone. Here’s a novel way to advance your algorithmic know-how… IDEA is a series of nonverbal algorithm assembly instructions, that mimic IKEAs famous assembly guides. First created for a lecture at Braunschweig Univeristy of Technology, they have been published for wider use by “teachers, students and curious people alike.”  Now, what is this extra piece here for?

New ONS tool maps UK trade globally  

New ONS tool maps UK trade data globally

Ever wanted to find out what the UK sells to Ethiopia or Ecuador? Or what goods – and how much – we export to countries around Europe? Well, The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released a new experimental dataset that breaks down UK trade into goods with 234 countries by commodity. The new mapping tool helps users get a better understanding of UK trade in goods with a particular country.

The end of the rainbow for Data Viz designers 

The end of the rainbow for Data Viz designers

The right colours don’t just brighten the dullest Gant chart, they bring meaning to the data you’ve visualised, adding impact and understanding… Or at least they should. But, it can be difficult to get it right. Until now. Two dataviz specialists at Netflix have published a new colour analysis tool that anyone can use. It allows you to test your colour palette for legibility in different formats, line weights, backgrounds, and font colours. And more so, it also shows what your colours look like to users with different types of colour blindness. Try out Viz Palette yourself.

Do Smart Cities need to get “thick”?

Puttimg the thick into smart cities

Many years ago, anthropologist Clifford Geertz argued that situations can only be made meaningful through ‘thick description’. That is to say, that without cultural context and meaning, behaviour becomes meaningless to an outsider. Today this rings true to those building big data city platforms. Applied to the Smart City, this means data cannot really be explained and used without understanding the context in which it arises.

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Posted in Big data, Media roundup On April 23, 2018 By

Author Bio

Gordon Laing

Gordon Laing

After years spent plying a trade in journalism, I changed. But journalists never really change, do they? It’s always been about finding and sharing the best insight. And always will be.

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