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The objectives are to provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the two core inter-related aspects of the emerging programmable city: (a) Translation: how cities are translated into code, and (b) Transduction: how code reshapes city life” (Kitchin 2011).
While this list of institutions is by no means comprehensive, we can say that the people and the territory of the Republic of Ireland are governed by 16 departments, 130 non commercial state sponsored bodies, 100+ state sponsored bodies, 31 local authorities, a number of special offices like the CSO, National Archives, commissioners, ombuds people and so on.
Governments create, use and maintain massive datasets about the territories they manage, the resources they oversee, and the people they govern. These are publicly funded national assets or resources. These same institutions collect different types of data in order to govern and administer the economy, resources, environment, society, history, knowledge, safety and security, etc.
Although data are commonly understood in practical terms, understandings differ depending on the actors involved there are different epistemologies and ontologies. Their collection requires specialized knowledge, techniques, sophisticated technologies, and often, significant resources. Data are also owned, regulated, guarded, standardized, and created within a particular community of practice. They are collected according to a particular model of the world based on the author’s worldview, and in turn, become an image or a representation of it. Data can be considered as arrangements of “facts within a specific cultural perspective” (Harley, in Dodge 2011:276). An earth scientist, urban planner, cartographer, electrical engineer or epidemiologist each represents a community of practice or epistemic group, each with their unique outlook on what constitutes data. Definitions, understandings, values and quality parameters also vary according to discipline (e.g., geography, physics, social work, archaeology), sector (e.g., communication, energy, housing, health), level of government and their departments (e.g., city, county, EU), private sector (e.g., Google, Axcion, IBM), non-governmental organization (e.g., CreativeCommons.ca, coastwatch, friends of the earth) or to individual citizens. In addition, data resellers, lawyers, data value-added service providers, and researchers in academia or the private sector value data for different reasons. Finally, the roles people have in relation to data (e.g., data librarian, archivist, network specialist, database manager, GIS specialist, cryptographer, cataloguer, artist, project manager) frame how data are handled.
Data are also part of and the result of large or complex socio-technological systems, such as the web of submarine cables, or satellite image mosaic which underlies Googlemaps. Data are artifacts in a complex web of technology, people, and social, political and economic structures. Furthermore, data are far from the often conceptualized, neutral arrangements of facts accompanied by descriptive metadata. They are political in their creation, use, arrangement, dissemination, representations, and in their ownership.
Irrespective of who collects data and for what purpose they are collected, their type, their form, or format, all government data are government records, and all government records should be managed not only by the individuals or teams whose role it is to collect, analyze and disseminate these, but data are the responsibility of the institution under whose remit they were collected in the first place. It is not only a legal requirement to do so, it is simply good practice to responsibly manage ones information assets/resources. Data/record management is synonymous with good governance. Open data, is in essence part of the access, use and reuse part of this particular model, or in other words discover and disseminate.
Natural Resources Canada, The Federal Geospatial Platform, Presentation for Information 29 October, 2013, Via Anne Martin
Reference: 2012, Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure Vision, Mission and Roadmap - The Way Forward http://ftp2.cits.rncan.gc.ca/pub/geott/ess_pubs/292/292417/cgdi_ip_28e.pdf
Rob Kitchin, 2014, The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and their Consequences, Sage: London. A data assemblage is conceived as a complex socio-technical system consisting of a number of inter-related elements — systems of thought; forms of knowledge; finance; political economy; governmentalities; materialities and infrastructures; practices; organisations and institutions; subjectivities and communities; places; and marketplaces — that work together to frame how data are produced, managed, analyzed, shared and used. This framework we think has utility in understanding and contextualizing the wider changing data landscape. “Data assemblages form part of a wider data landscape composed of many inter-related and interacting data assemblages and systems. Within the public sector, for example, there are thousands of data systems, each surrounded by a wider assemblage, that interact and work in concert to produce state services and forms of state control at local, regional and national scales. Often, this data landscape extends to the pan-national and the global, through inter-regional and worldwide data sets, data sharing arrangements and infrastructures, and the formulation of protocols, standards and legal frameworks (e.g., Global Spatial Data Infrastructures, INSPIRE). “ Kitchin’s Data Assemblage comprises a mix of disciplines, theories and concepts that direct the researcher toward collecting the ‘things’ related to the subject and objects of study, which then provide the raw materials to discursively analyse them in part and in whole. This provides a useful guide to examine the social, cultural, political, and material parts that characterize data and their related infrastructures.
Data, Infrastructures and Public Policy
Dublinked Open Data Summit
Data Opens Doors
Open Data Nation Session
Chartered Accountants Ireland, 47 Pearse Street, Dublin City, 7 May 2015
Tracey P. Lauriault
Programmable City Project
Data, Infrastructures and Public Policy
The Programmable City
• A European Research Council (ERC) and
Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) funding
• SH3: Environment and Society
• Led by Dr Rob Kitchin, the Primary Investigator
• Based at the National Institute for Regional and
Spatial Analysis (NIRSA)
• At the National University of Ireland Maynooth
MIT Press 2011 Sage 2014
Aim of the ERC
project is to build off
and extend a decade
of work that
(MIT Press) with a
set of detailed
How is the city translated into software and data?
How do software and data reshape the city?
City into Code
Code Reshapes City
Discourses, Practices, Knowledge, Models
Mediation, Augmentation, Facilitation, Regulation
1. Agriculture, Food and the Marine
2. Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
3. Children and Youth Affairs
4. Communications, Energy and Natural
6. Education and Skills
7. Environment, Community and Local
9. Foreign Affairs and Trade
11.Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
12.Justice and Equality
13.Public Expenditure and Reform
16. Transport, Tourism and Sport
• 130 Non Commercial State
Sponsored Bodies (EPA, Marine
Institute, SFI, RIA, Rail, OSI,
Universities, Roads, etc.)
• 100+ State-sponsored bodies
(Utilities, Irish Rail, IDA,
• 31 local authorities (3 are
Dublin, 2 are City and Council)
• CSO, Archives, etc.
• Data Protection Commissioner,
Ombunds person, Information
• Meet constitutional commitments & ensure
adherence to regulation, treaties, directives
• Administer government institutions
(budgets, performance indicators, audits,
• Output of program & service delivery
(licences, PPS, registration, fees, )
• Census, maps, surveys, inventories,
• Investigation, research, development
Public Sector Data
Access to Data Open Data
Scientists, Cultural Institutions E-Government, CTOs
Within & Between Institutions
• Comprehensive collection &
sharing of authoritative data
• Search, discovery, access, &
visualization tools built once &
reused many times, search
once and find everything
• Common web-based
environment enabling data
integration, analysis, &
visualization to support
• Shared governance &
management of geospatial
assets and capabilities, through
operational standards &
enables better decision making, the CGDI is
based on open, barrier-free data sharing and
standards that allow users to exchange data.
allows users to access data and services seamlessly,
despite any complexities of the underlying
the network of organizations participating in the
CGDI will continue to address new requirements
and business applications for information and
service delivery to their respective users.
the CGDI is based on technologies and services that
support timely or real-time access to
is sustained by the contributions of the
participating organizations and broad user
community and through the infrastructure’s
relevance to these groups.
the CGDI enables various organizations to
contribute geospatial information, services
and applications, and guide the
6. User and community driven
emphasizes the nurturing of and service to a
broad user community. These users,
including Canadians in general, will drive
the CGDI’s development based on user
6. Closest to source
maximizes efficiency and quality by
encouraging organizations closest to source
to provide data and services. Thereby
eliminating duplication and overlap.
is continually enhanced to protect sensitive
and proprietary data. The CGDI offers this
protection through policies and mechanisms
that enable data to be assessed for quality
and trusted by users.Source: : 2012, Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure Vision, Mission
and Roadmap - The Way Forward
Technological and procedural suitability
Kitchin’s Data Assemblage
Modes of thinking, philosophies, theories, models,
ideologies, rationalities, etc.
Research texts, manuals, magazines, websites,
experience, word of mouth, chat forums, etc.
Business models, investment, venture capital,
grants, philanthropy, profit, etc.
Policy, tax regimes, public and political opinion,
ethical considerations, etc.
Data standards, file formats, system requirements,
protocols, regulations, laws, licensing, intellectual
property regimes, etc.
Paper/pens, computers, digital devices, sensors,
scanners, databases, networks, servers, etc.
Techniques, ways of doing, learned behaviours,
scientific conventions, etc.
Archives, corporations, consultants, manufacturers,
retailers, government agencies, universities,
conferences, clubs and societies, committees and
boards, communities of practice, etc.
Of data producers, curators, managers, analysts,
scientists, politicians, users, citizens, etc.
Labs, offices, field sites, data centres, server farms,
business parks, etc, and their agglomerations
For data, its derivatives (e.g., text, tables, graphs,
maps), analysts, analytic software, interpretations,
• Open data is an apéritif, stimulating the e-government
community to manage and share its data assets/resources
• We are at the amuse-bouche stage, at the level of datasets
within the public sector
• The conversation is getting good with e-government and
administrators mingling with science, geomatics, statistics,
becoming multi-sectoral, arguably missing some civil society
spice and business pragmatism although innovation is the aim
• We are getting ready to have dinner together, but we still need
the determine preferences, find and mix ingredients, get the
chefs together in the kitchen, need a place to sit and enable the
skilled staff to deliver and manage, need a convener or host, and
we need to figure out how to pay
• Eventually we will share many meals, selected from any number
of fine establishments, which will be underpinned by an invisible
but robust, sustainable, fair, secure and well functioning global
Q & A
Tracey P. Lauriault
Programmable City Project