It will allow the Barcelona Data Analytics Office to access, manage and combine a large variety of datasets to address city problems
Decode, the European Commission funded project focused on personal data, has announced that its BarcelonaNow platform is being connected to the city’s publicly owned data infrastructure, CityOS.
The Decode project explores and pilots new technologies that give people more control over how they store, manage and use personal data generated online. Integrating the platforms and infrastructure is aligned with the Barcelona Data Commons policy, which aims to consider data a shared infrastructure to be used to tackle city challenges.
CityOS is a big data infrastructure currently being built, based on open-source technologies in accordance with the city council’s software policy. Datasets from different databases around city council departments are integrated into the harmonised platform and it will form a central piece of the Spanish city’s data strategy.
Bridging the two projects will allow the newly created Barcelona Data Analytics Office to access, manage and combine a large variety of datasets to address city problems leveraging the computing power and machine learning capabilities of the tool.
“By providing tools that allow people to collectively decide how publicly owned data is used and shared, for what use and with whom, we are paving the way to a future where data is shared as an infrastructure instead of a commodity to be bought or sold,” writes Decode in its blog.
“Our job at Decode is to try and lay down the economic, social and technological means towards that end, and the connection we announce, albeit a small step, is a significant one to fulfill this vision.”
It explains that the latest milestone marks the end of the first phase of development of the BCNNow tool, which is dedicated to building a public dashboard that can be used to browse, relate and explore open datasets from different private and public sources and share custom visualisations of those datasets.
“We are paving the way to a future where data is shared as an infrastructure instead of a commodity to be bought or sold”
The next step will focus on evolving the platform to provide a personalised experience to the citizens participating on Decode’s two pilots to be deployed in Barcelona. One of these is related to an open democracy portal for the city and the other is based on making use of the Internet of Things. It is working with two pilot partners: the open source project Decidim and the Making Sense community, which explores how open source software and hardware and other tools can be used by communities to co-create their own sensing tools.
“This experience is aimed at allowing the users to add a layer of granularity to the sharing permissions they add to their datasets via privacy enhancing technologies,” says Decode. Our intention is at the same time to raise public awareness over the uses of data in our society and encourage a debate with leading actors around these issues.”
Decode is staging a symposium during the Barcelona Open City Biennale week in October to promote this debate.
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