#ThisWeekInData October 7, 2016

Each week we will bring you a summary of what happened this week on our site, on Twitter, and in the wider world of civic data. Suggest stories on Twitter with #ThisWeekInData.

Here on Data-Smart, Sean Thornton wrote about the launch of underground infrastructure mapping technology in the city of Chicago. University and Industry Labs, a Chicago-based innovation accelerator, designed a tool, which is now being actively deployed in Chicago, to visually capture below-ground assets so that cities and utility companies can significantly reduce the time and cost of street construction projects. Read more about the innovative program and its launch in Chicago here.

San Francisco launched an Open Data Release Toolkit to help guide the release of sensitive or protected datasets on the city’s open data portal. In order to publish data responsibly, competing factors must be balanced: the value of publishing the data, an individual’s expectation of privacy, repercussions to an individual or the organization from re-identification, and the likelihood of re-identification. The toolkit guides you through the following steps to manage the process: 1) identifying sensitive or protected raw data, 2) performing a risk assessment regarding the identifiability of the data, 3) choosing and implementing privacy solutions, and 4) performing a risk assessment regarding the accessibility of the de-identified data.

The city of Boston launched a smartphone app challenge, “Boston’s Safest Driver,” in an effort to reduce vehicle crashes and encourage safe driving. The app provides feedback based on five metrics: speed, acceleration, braking, cornering, and phone distraction. The city also partnered with the Arbella Insurance Foundation to incentivize participation by offering more than $9,000 in prizes, which will be awarded every week during the competition.

In a recently released white paper, the United States Postal Service outlined five ways USPS can help advance smart city technology. The report addresses how the USPS can use Internet of Things technology to accelerate the adoption of smart city technology. In particular, it includes a proposal to partner with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to equip mail trucks in the city with abilities to track road conditions and spot potholes. Read more about the ideas proposed in the white paper at GCN.

A new report published on the European Data Portal provides a snapshot of where European countries stand in terms of their dedication to open data. The series of indicators chosen to measure open data maturity across Europe focus on the level of development of national policies promoting open data, an assessment of the features made available on national data portals, and the expected impact of open data. The report offers the following recommendations to continue making progress in this area: 1) implement a data strategy that emphasizes legal structure and standards, 2) add basic, easy-to-use portal functionalities and enhance data quality, 3) increase awareness around open data, and 4) monitor the impact of open data-related activities to keep track of benefits.

A new app called “Project Sidewalk” from a team at the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab gives users the ability to map urban accessibility, or how easy it is to walk the streets. The app is being piloted in Washington, D.C. and after a brief tutorial, users can “walk” the D.C. streets using Google Maps street view and use a variety of tools to mark curb ramps or the need for them, broken sidewalks or obstacles, and rank them from one to five on the “accessibility scale.” Read about what you can do with the app and how it can help citizens with disabilities at Next City.

A new report estimates that data collected from connected cars could boom to become a $750 billion market. The report, from McKinsey & Company, says that car-generated data from connected cars could create as much as three quarters of a trillion dollars by 2030. The two largest areas for monetization, according to the report, are data-driven solutions to make mobility safer or more convenient for vehicle owners, and facilitating the saving of time and money. Read coverage of the report at GovTech.