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Future Cities Catapult unveils data visualisation tool



Government body develops Tombolo software to help non-specialists make more of geospatial data

The Future Cities Catapult (FCC) has revealed details of a new data visualisation tool that it says can help develop more solutions for smart places.

The Government backed agency that leads research on smart city technologies said it has signed a deal with Emu Analytics to further develop the Tombolo software, on which it is working with Barking & Dagenham Council’s Corporate Insight Hub.

It follows the development over the past year of the Digital Connector, an open source tool to help data specialists format, connect and share geospatial data. This is now loaded with commonly connected datasets such as Open Street Map and ONS Census, and indexes on issues such as social isolation and active travel.

This is meant to work for data specialists in programs such as Python and Java, but FCC said it is not really accessible for general users, which has prompted it to work on Tombolo.

It is making the tool available for a hackathon on 16-18 March, and will enable potential users to sign-up to an account then gain access to a ‘playground’ in which they can import, view and edit visualisations about their place.

Jon Robertson, delivery lead for the project, said in a blogpost: “We want to create a platform that will enable data folk to quickly and easily share great data stories with influencers and decision-makers inside and outside of their organisation.”

Image from Future Cities Catapult

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