Mayor calls for new vision for using data to tackle London's challenge

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of City Hall’s London Datastore. It was a groundbreaking initiative by a major city, making freely available huge amounts of data about the capital which has been used to tackle some of London’s most important challenges, such as easing road congestion and improving air quality.  

The platform currently has around 60,000 users each month and is home to more than 6,000 datasets – up from around 500 when it was first launched in 2010 – ranging from population estimates, to rough sleeping figures and international visitor numbers. It has helped spur innovation by opening up opportunities for local suppliers to deliver innovative solutions whilst growing the local start-up community. Some of the successes include: 

  • London Rents Map, which 85,000 Londoners used last year to help them find an affordable home; 

  • Schools Atlas, a tool for parents selecting schools for their children; 

  • Cultural Infrastructure Map, which helps people enjoy and preserve music venues, studios and community halls in their neighbourhoods;   

  • a range of air quality mapping using data from a network of sensors showing Londoners pollution levels in their local areas, as well as prioritising new electric bus routes. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is considered one of the world’s leading smart cities because we have an enviable track record of using data to solve everyday problems faced by Londoners. 

“By responsibly opening up a huge amount of data held by our public sector partners and working with London’s brilliant tech sector, we’re helping tackle some of the most urgent challenges facing our city as it grows. 

“The next step is to create a shared approach for the city so we can all benefit from the innovation this will bring – while using the data we hold on Londoners’ behalf transparently, safely and securely.” 

Last month, business organisation London First launched the London Data Commission, which will complement the work on city data currently underway at the Greater London Authority and London Councils.   

It will also aim to ensure that, over the next 10 years, businesses work with the public sector to unleash the potential of data to help solve the big issues for London. It is due to report during this year’s London Tech Week in June. 

The Open Data Institute has published a report outlining how the Datastore can evolve over the next decade. It contains recommendations on how the platform should sit at the heart of the new approach to the safe and secure sharing of data to benefit all Londoners, including: 

  • revamping and expanding the London Datastore; 

  • ensuring the Datastore is central to wider efforts to increase the amount and quality of data available across London;  

  • making the platform as easy to use as possible; and 

  • developing a new approach to sharing civic data from City Hall –led by London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, and will bring together councils, universities, the public sector, businesses and Londoners. 

techUK’s Head of Local Public Services, Georgina Maratheftis, commented: 

“Happy 10th anniversary to the London Datastore, a pioneering platform that has help to spur innovation and ensure London is a world leading digital economy and smart city. Data is at the heart of creating places where citizens want to live, work, thrive and feel safe and we look forward to working with City Hall on the Datastore’s evolution, and with local public services and the tech industry on how data can solve some of the biggest challenges London faces. 

  • Georgina Maratheftis

    Georgina Maratheftis

    HEAD OF PROGRAMME | LOCAL PUBLIC SERVICES
    T 020 7331 2029

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