London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced an investment of £500,000 (US$613,000) to create a new platform to boost data innovation. A data governance body will also be established for the first time.
The new Data for London platform will act as a ‘central library’ for the vast amount of data held across the capital, enabling Londoners to access both public and private data more easily.
By joining up data to provide better insights and enable the development of new apps and services, the Mayor hopes to improve issues such as: the planning of electric vehicle charging points; understanding of food poverty; insight into the night-time economy; transport; energy management; and crime reduction. The platform will also pave the way for the use of more advanced tools such as artificial intelligence and digital twins.
Khan said: “The role that data and technology play in our lives grows bigger every day and adapting to this transformation is crucial to the growth of our great city.
“This new infrastructure will build on the success of the London Datastore and continue improving the lives of Londoners – fuelling innovation, creating jobs and addressing the climate emergency, and putting data into the hands of those who can make a positive difference for London.”
The London Datastore was launched in 2010 and houses more than 6,000 datasets. It includes a Coronavirus Hub, a Planning Datahub with live data on 450,000 planning proposals, and an Infrastructure Mapping Application which coordinates works done by utility companies to reduce disruption caused by roadworks.
The new platform will be capable of handling larger datasets and aims to make existing data easier to find. It will also share analysis, models and re-usable code. The core platform will be built by the Greater London Authority with a technology partner that will be announced soon. The modular build will enable additional functionality to be added on to meet user needs.
A new Data for London Board is also being set up to guide the development of the platform and oversee data-sharing. It will be chaired by London’s Chief Digital Officer Theo Blackwell and include Chief Data Officers from public bodies, businesses, and openly appointed representatives from the data community.
Blackwell commented: “Data for London represents a major step forward in how our city links important data across public bodies and beyond for use by public servants, researchers, businesses and citizens themselves.
“For the first time we are establishing a governance body to make sure the platform we create is as useful as possible, while ensuring that data sharing is as legal, ethical, and secure as Londoners expect it to be.”
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