Linux urban computing effort targets connected cities

May 16, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Linux urban computing effort targets connected cities
The Linux Foundation (San Francisco, CA) has announced the formation of a new industry-wide organization to accelerate the development of open source software that improves mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion, and energy consumption in connected cities.

The Urban Computing Foundation will provide a forum for developers to collaborate on and build a common set of open source tools connecting cities, autonomous vehicles, and smart infrastructure. Initial contributors include developers from Uber, Facebook, Google, HERE Technologies, IBM, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

"During moments of both technology disruption and opportunity, open development is critical for enabling interoperability and speeding adoption," says 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."

Urban computing, says the organization, is emerging as an important field to bridge the divide between engineering, visualization, and traditional transportation systems analysis. However, these advancements are dependent on compatibility among many technologies across different public and private organizations. The Urban Computing Foundation is intended as a neutral forum for this critical work, including adaption of geospatial and temporal machine learning techniques and urban environments and simulation methodologies for modeling and predicting city-wide phenomena.

The first project hosted at the Foundation is kepler.gl - an open source geospatial analysis tool created by Uber for building large-scale data sets. Kepler was released in 2018 to help make it easier to create meaningful visualizations of location data without the need for coding.

Kepler.gl is used by developers, data scientists, visualization specialists and engineers around the world to explore and analyze a variety of scenarios that include transportation patterns and safety trends. Some of the companies using Kepler.gl include Airbnb, Atkins Global, Cityswifter, HERE Technologies, Limebike, Mapbox, Sidewalk Labs, Uber and UBILabs, among others.

The 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


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