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Proposed project to create an urban meta data standard

  • Creator
  • #120998

    Mark Fox

    Cities, and especially ‘smart’ cities, are generators of vast amounts of information, from data which is generated by delivering city services to citizens, to data from heterogeneous data sources which is used to enrich the understanding of the city and deliver not just Smart but sustainable cities. As this data flows between the city and organisations using both open and shared data, the importance of making meta data a available increases. Meta data includes information such as:
    •    Measurement: quantities and units of values,
    •    Provenance: how the value was derived and by whom,
    •    Time: when a value is valid, or when it was produced,
    •    Validity: the degree to which a value is believed to be correct, and
    •    Trust: the degree to which the individual or organization is trusted to produce a value correctly.
    The problem is that the sources of this meta data are buried in datasets and documents that are mostly inaccessible. In the end, we are left with values that we cannot verify; we have to rely on the good will of the people who reported to the data. This missing meta-information amounts to an “unwritten narrative” which can be found in the minds of the people who created the values and is verbally passed on to others.
    Why is this “unwritten narrative” important? If we want to compare data across two or more cities, the simplest consistency test is to see they have the same units. Without this measurement meta data, the test cannot be performed. Without provenance meta data, we cannot verify that the process used by one city is consistent with another; a difference in process can introduce significant variation.
    This project will develop standard that specifies an ontology for representing meta-data for Smart Cities data.

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