Mobile Phone Data Proves Humans Are Predictable During Chaos


Ciara Byrne in FastCompany: “Research presented by Linus Bengsston’s Flowminder Foundation to the recent Netmob 2013 held at MIT’s Media Lab showed that our movements after conflicts and disasters are highly predictable. Analysis of mobile phone data from the 2011 civil war in Cote D’Ivoire (CIV), showed that population movements were up to 88% predictable, an accuracy that was consistent with data collected after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In fact, we become more, rather than less, predictable in crises.”

Building Cities Using The Power Of The Crowd


PSFK: “Rodrigo Nino, CEO of Prodigy Network, spoke at PSFK CONFERENCE 2013 about building a crowd funded skyscraper in the city of Bogota, Colombia. With a population of over 10 million, Bogota is a quickly growing metropolitan center. This growth is predominately horizontal rather than vertical, which is creating a problems involving traffic and pollution. With 1.7 million daily commuters heading into the center of the city, the average commute from door to door in Bogota is between 75 to 90 minutes every day. This problem of horizontal growth is the biggest issue facing cities in emerging markets. The solution is to go vertical, building skyscrapers to create greater density and centralization.

The issue is raising enough capital to build such structures, and generally necessitates the involvement of large and powerful institutional investors. However, Nino envisions another way, which puts the power in the hands of the people of Bogota. By turning to crowd funding to build a skyscraper, the residents themselves become the owners of the project. In order to make this a reality, Nino has been combating the misconceptions that crowd funding can only be used to finance small projects, that it is only for local communities, and that crowd funding in real estate is not safe.”

VIDEO:

OpenData Latinoamérica


Mariano Blejman and Miguel Paz @ IJNet Blog: “We need a central repository where you can share the data that you have proved to be reliable. Our answer to this need: OpenData Latinoamérica, which we are leading as ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellows.
Inspired by the open data portal created by ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein in Africa, OpenData Latinoamérica aims to improve the use of data in this region where data sets too often fail to show up where they should, and when they do, are scattered about the web at governmental repositories and multiple independent repositories where the data is removed too quickly.

The portal will be used at two big upcoming events: Bolivia’s first DataBootCamp and the Conferencia de Datos Abiertos (Open Data Conference) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Then, we’ll hold a series of hackathons and scrape-athons in Chile, which is in a period of presidential elections in which citizens increasingly demand greater transparency. Releasing data and developing applications for accountability will be the key.”

Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO)


European Commission Press Release: “The Commission today unveiled plans for the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO), an online platform to improve knowledge of and participation of all stakeholders across the world in debates and decisions on Internet policies. GIPO will be developed by the Commission and a core alliance of countries and Non Governmental Organisations involved in Internet governance. Brazil, the African Union, Switzerland, the Association for Progressive Communication, Diplo Foundation and the Internet Society have agreed to cooperate or have expressed their interest to be involved in the project.
The Global Internet Policy Observatory will act as a clearinghouse for monitoring Internet policy, regulatory and technological developments across the world.
It will:

  • automatically monitor Internet-related policy developments at the global level, making full use of “big data” technologies;
  • identify links between different fora and discussions, with the objective to overcome “policy silos”;
  • help contextualise information, for example by collecting existing academic information on a specific topic, highlighting the historical and current position of the main actors on a particular issue, identifying the interests of different actors in various policy fields;
  • identify policy trends, via quantitative and qualitative methods such as semantic and sentiment analysis;
  • provide easy-to-use briefings and reports by incorporating modern visualisation techniques;”

What the Obama Campaign's Chief Data Scientist Is Up to Now


Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic: “By all accounts, Rayid Ghani’s data work for President Obama’s reelection campaign was brilliant and unprecedented. Ghani probably could have written a ticket to work at any company in the world, or simply collected speaking fees for a few years telling companies how to harness the power of data like the campaign did.
But instead, Ghani headed to the University of Chicago to bring sophisticated data analysis to difficult social problems. Working with Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy, Ghani will serve as the chief data scientist for the Urban Center for Computation and Data.”

Feel the force


The Economist: “Three new books look at power in the digital age…
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism. By Evgeny Morozov. PublicAffairs; 415 pages; $28.99. Allen Lane; £20.
Who Owns the Future? By Jaron Lanier. Simon and Schuster; 397 pages; $28. Allen Lane; £20.
The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. By Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. Knopf; 319 pages; $26.95. John Murray; £25.

Open government data shines a light on hospital billing and health care costs


hospital-costsAlex Howard: “If transparency is the best disinfectant, casting sunlight upon the cost of care in hospitals across the United States will make the health care system itself healthier.
The Department of Health and Human Services has released open data that compares the billing for the 100 most common treatments and procedures performed at more than 3000 hospital in the U.S. The Medicare provider charge data shows significant variation within communies and across the country for the same procedures.
One hospital charged $8,000, another $38,000 — for the same condition. This data is enabling newspapers like the Washington Post to show people the actual costs of health care and create  interactive features that enable  people to search for individual hospitals and see how they compare. The New York Times explored the potential reasons behind wild disparities in billing at length today, from sicker patients to longer hospitalizations to higher labor costs.”

A Page From the Tri-Sector Athlete Playbook: Designing a Pro-Bono Partnership Model for Cities and Public Agencies


Jeremy Goldberg: “Leaders in our social systems and institutions are faced with many of the same challenges of the past century, but they are tasked to solve them within new fiscal realities. In the United States these fiscal realities are tied to the impact of the most recent economic recession coupled with declining property and tax revenues. While these issues seem largely to be “problems” that many perceive to belong to our government, leadership across sectors has had to respond and adapt in numerous ways, some of which unfortunately include pay and hiring-freezes, lay-offs and cuts to important public services and programs related to education, parks and safety.
Fortunately, within this “new normal” there are examples of leadership within the public and private sector confronting these challenges head-on through innovative public-private partnerships (p3s). For example, municipal governments are turning to opportunities like IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge, which provides funding and a team of IBM employees to assist the city in solving specific public problems. Other cities such as Boston, Louisville and San Francisco have established initiatives, projects and Offices of Civic Innovation where government, technologists, communities and residents are collaborating to solve problems through open-data initiatives and platforms.
This new generation of innovative P3s demonstrates the inherent power of what Joseph Nye coined a tri-sector athlete — someone who is able and experienced in business, government and the social sector. Today, unlike any other time before, tri-sector athletes are demonstrating that business as usual just won’t cut it. These athletes, myself included, believe it’s the perfect moment for civic innovation, the perfect time civic collaboration, and the perfect moment for an organization like Fuse Corps to lead the national civic entrepreneurship movement… and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

D4D Challenge Winners announced


development=prize-pic_0Global Pulse Blog: “The winners of the Data for Development challenge – an international research challenge using a massive anonymized dataset provided by telecommunications company Orange – were announced at the NetMob 2013 Conference in Boston last week….
In this post we’ll look at the winners and how their research could be put to use.

Best Visualization prize winner: “Exploration and Analysis of Massive Mobile Phone Data: A Layered Visual Analytics Approach” –

Best Development prize winner: “AllAboard: a System for Exploring Urban Mobility and Optimizing Public Transport Using Cellphone Data”

Best Scientific prize winner: “Analyzing Social Divisions Using Cell Phone Data”

First prize winner: “Exploiting Cellular Data for Disease Containment and Information Campaigns Strategies in Country-Wide Epidemics””