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Forum aims to accelerate open source tools for smarter cities

The Urban Computing Foundation enables developers to collaborate on software to make improvements in areas such as mobility, energy and road infrastructure in connected cities.

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A common set of open source tools will help connect cities, vehicles and infrastructure
A common set of open source tools will help connect cities, vehicles and infrastructure

The Linux Foundation, the technology consortium enabling mass innovation through open source, has set up the Urban Computing Foundation, an industry-wide initiative to develop open source software for future and connected cities.

 

The aim is to bring together a community of developers to collaborate on and build a common set of open source tools to improve mobility, transportation, safety and infrastructure.

 

Big-name contributors

 

Initial contributors include developers from Uber, Facebook, Google, Here Technologies, IBM, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and University of California San Diego (UCSD).

 

According to the foundation, as cities and transportation networks evolve into ever-more complicated systems, urban computing is emerging as an important field to bridge the divide between engineering, visualisation and traditional transportation systems analysis. However, these advancements are dependent on compatibility among many technologies across different public and private organisations.

 

Urban Computing Foundation seeks to provide a neutral forum for this critical work, including adaption of geospatial and temporal machine learning techniques and urban environments and simulation methodologies for modelling and predicting city-wide phenomena.

 

“During moments of both technology disruption and opportunity, open development is critical for enabling interoperability and speeding adoption,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

 

“The Urban Computing Foundation is poised to provide the compatibility tools and resources for developers to create software that can map out and operate technology services in any given urban area, ensuring safety and equitable access to transportation.”

“During moments of both technology disruption and opportunity, open development is critical for enabling interoperability and speeding adoption”

The Urban Computing Foundation aims to provide open access to tools and platforms for developers in both public and private organisations who are building connected solutions for mobility, reducing congestion and pollution and increasing access; safety, new technologies to create a world where it’s safe and easy for everyone to get around; and insights, anonymised data from citizens that can help urban planning around the world.

 

The new foundation will use an open governance model being developed by the Technical Advisory Council (TAC), which includes a variety of technical and IP stakeholders in the urban computing space. Project inclusion will be determined by a review and curation process managed by the TAC.

 

“Civic organisations and citizens alike need ready access to data about their cities to make better decisions about transportation, construction and energy consumption. The Urban Computing Foundation’s mission to make that possible is closely aligned with Google’s approach to open data,” said Chris DiBona, director, open source and science outreach, Google Cloud.

 

“Making it easier to access, visualise and process these kinds of large data sets is indeed at the heart of Google Cloud. We are excited to join the Urban Computing Foundation as a founding contributor and work on our shared goal of improving the world we live in.”

 

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