Open-Source

HERE Technologies Joins The Urban Computing Foundation

By Oliver Fink | 13 May 2019

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced last week the formation of the Urban Computing Foundation to accelerate open source software that improves mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and energy consumption in connected cities.

I am excited to share that HERE Technologies is part of that foundation and will focus on finding and collaborating on open solutions that make it easier for all to unlock the potential of urban data. Initial contributors include developers from Uber, Facebook, Google, HERE Technologies, IBM, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The Urban Computing Foundation aims to provide open access to tools and platforms for developers in both public and private organizations who are building connected solutions for mobility, reducing congestion and pollution and increasing access; safety, new technologies to create a world where it’s safe and easy for everyone to get around; and insights, anonymized data from citizens that can help urban planning around the world.

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the formation of the Urban Computing Foundation to accelerate open source software that improves mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and energy consumption in connected cities. Initial contributors include developers from Uber, Facebook, Google, HERE Technologies, IBM, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and University of California San Diego (UCSD).

As cities and transportation networks evolve into ever-more complicated systems, urban computing 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. Urban Computing Foundation will provide 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. To contribute to this work, please visit the Urban Computing Foundation website.

“During moments of both technology disruption and opportunity, open development is critical for enabling interoperability and speeding adoption,” said 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.”

The first project hosted at the Foundation is https://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.

“As a founding participant with the Urban Computing Foundation, Uber is honored to contribute Kepler.gl as the initiative’s first official project,” said Travis Gorkin, Uber Data Visualization Lead and Urban Computing Foundation TAC contributor. “Technologies like Kepler.gl have the capacity to advance urban planning by helping policymakers and local governments gain critical insights and better understand data about their cities.”

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 space. Project inclusion will be determined by a review and curation process managed by the TAC.

I'm personally excited to be working in the TAC together with these peers:

  • Drew Dara-Abrams, principal, Interline Technologies
  • Travis Gorkin, engineering manager of data visualization, Uber
  • Shan He, project leader of Kepler.gl, Uber
  • Randy Meech, CEO, StreetCred Labs
  • Michal Migurski, engineering manager of spatial computing, Facebook
  • Drishtie Patel, product manager of maps, Facebook
  • Paolo Santi, senior researcher, MIT
  • Max Sills, attorney, Google