18 December 2017
By Mary Bermingham
Researchers from Maynooth University have launched a new online resource that will let citizens, businesses and policy makers access information about the city in an unprecedented way. The Cork Dashboard allows users to monitor a huge range of public data at a glance – from real-time traffic and weather information to air quality and crime levels – all in one place and free of charge. You can visit the Cork Dashboard at www.corkdashboard.ie.
The Cork Dashboard is a product of the Building City Dashboards Project based in National Centre for Geocomputation in Maynooth University. The project was created in partnership with Cork Smart Gateway, Cork City Council and Cork County Council and was funded by Science Foundation Ireland.
The goal of a City Dashboard, according to Principal Investigator Professor Rob Kitchin, is to give groups and individuals easier access to vital information about their city in order to empower them to make more informed decisions. Professor Kitchin says: “The decisions that the Cork Dashboard will help people make run the gamut from a commuter checking road temperatures to avoid icy roads on their drive to work to a policy maker identifying where to target vital services. Our goal is to make as much useful information as possible available to the public and decision-makers, all for free and all at the tip of your fingers.”
The website draws information from a number of data providers including the local authorities, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Central Statistics Office and a number of government departments. The number of real-time, interactive maps and data-sets will give users the ability to track changes in Cork as they happen.
The launch of the Cork Dashboard was welcomed by members of Cork City Council and Cork County Council.
Commenting on the launch of the Cork Dashboard, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council said, “We welcome the addition of the Cork Open Data Dashboard which makes a significant contribution to enhancing our smart ecosystem. This dashboard is an excellent example of strong collaboration between academia and local authorities resulting in a valuable resource for everyone in Cork. We are committed to fully supporting and utilising the dashboard to drive new innovations, empower citizens, and enable better decision making.”
In welcoming the launch of the Cork Dashboard, Mr Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council noted that they are increasingly regarded as being items of critical infrastructure which enable Local Authorities to efficiently and effectively operate a range of services in real-time, formulate evidence-based policy and create better plans and empower the general public and the private sector by sharing information that will facilitate participation, improve our quality of life, and foster entrepreneurship.
While the potential applications for the Cork Dashboards will be as varied as the people that use it, below is a list of some of the more common applications that the Building City Dashboards Project team expect to see:
· Cork Citizens: Individuals can use the Dashboard to plan their commute, to compare property prices and planning permission information and even report issues such as broken street lights and potholes to local authorities.
· Public Officials: The Dashboard collates a huge number of data sets that will give public officials a valuable and up-to-the-minute insight into Cork life, allowing them to review vital statistics such as prevalence of crime, health data and pollution levels, making city planning more efficient and effective.
· Foreign Direct Investment: By providing visual representations for cost of living and economic performance, the Dashboard will be a valuable tool both for companies who are considering investing in Cork and for advocacy groups like the IDA.
· Tourism: The amount of information available on the Cork Dashboard will let potential visitors plan their trip with greater ease and in more detail than ever before, allowing them to check transport options, hotel availability and bathing water quality on Cork beaches.
Over the next two years, the amount of data available on the Dashboard will expand to allow for even more monitoring services to include, for example, the ability to quickly assess areas for flood risk.
The Dashboard will further be developed in time to allow users self-identify as policy-makers, private citizens, law enforcement, etc., and to interact with the data in virtual and augmented reality.