City dashboards turn data into wisdom

City dashboards turn data into wisdomAs Hong Kong celebrates 20th anniversary of the handover to China, the city also anticipates the upcoming announcement of its smart city development. Lead by OGCIO, the smart city consultation study is expected to reveal in mid-2017.


With the new chief executive about to formally take office, smart city experts noted the significance of a city dashboard to enhance the city’s operation and the mayor’s public approval.


“Mayor’s dashboard is a new idea,” said Winnie Tang, co-founder of Smart City Consortium (SCC). “It does not only allow the city to operate more efficiently, but also allow the mayor to become more popular.”


LA city dashboard

One great example is the Mayor’s Dashboard from Los Angeles (LA).  The dashboard provides a wide range of data measuring the city’s performance in four areas:

1)     Prosperity—providing economic data like employment rate, number of business registration, median household income and poverty

2)     Livability—measuring performance of the city services like bus on-time performance rate, waste diversion rate, water supply by gallon and power outage

3)     Safety—providing real-time crime reports like robbery, theft, stolen vehicles and average emergency response time

4)     Efficiency—measuring the government's operational efficiency like number of employees, total reserve fund and projected budget shortfall


Initiated by the Mayor of LA Eric Garcetti in 2013, this dashboard does not only provide a tool to manage the city, but also allow the public to monitor the mayor’s performance.


“It is not very common that an elected official to make himself so vulnerable,” said Chief Data Officer, City of LA Lilian Coral at the Internet Economy Summit 2017.  “But he’s known for his dashboard in the US.”


This initiative allows the city to be ranked as the number one US city for open data by the Sunlight Foundation’s US City Open Data Census in 2016. Apart from being the mayor’s daily management tool, the dashboard also provides transparency and information to the public using spatial display.


“[The data points] are based on his priority in managing the city and they are all public facing,” she said.  “The spatial part is really critical, as most people don’t care [as much] about the major trends as what happen on their streets and neighborhood


City dashboard in Hangzhou

Similar city dashboard is also found closer to home in China.


At Hangzhou, one of the earliest trial cities to develop smart city in China, also has a similar dashboard since 2014. The dashboard is used internally to monitor and manage the city, with selected information available to the public through a mobile app.


Different from the dashboard in LA, whose purposes are data transparency and city operations measurement, the dashboard in Hangzhou focuses on the communication with the citizen.