CitySDK's 1st Newsletter - Welcome and read on...
Welcome to the first CitySDK newsletter. We wanted to tell you some more about the project’s progress, its plans for the next few months and opportunities to find more out about how open data can help cities become smarter.
It’s been a year of sharing knowledge between our project partners – and from the start of the project – when we met in Brussels in January – we’ve brought in developers and city administrations to share their good practice.

Amsterdam, Helsinki, Lisbon, Lamia, Manchester, Istanbul, Rome and Barcelona are the eight partner cities on CitySDK, and each city has been engaging with their developer community and city administration to ensure that the toolkit and applications will be addressing local needs, whilst also being transferable between cities.

If you want to get in touch with a local partner then please see the list of partners at


Open Data Visualisation at PICNIC

For PICNIC 2012, Laurens Schuurkamp and Bert Spaan (Waag Society) developed an Open Data visualization installation. Subsequently, Laurens gave a seminar on Open Data Visualization on the Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch.
Laurens: “Our goal was to draw the city from scratch with the available Open Data, to see if there is enough data available to get Amsterdam on the map in detail. The installation consisted of two big HD TV screens and an iPad. On the iPad users could (de-)select 33 open data layers, from elm trees to public urinoirs. The selected layers became visible on the first screen, whilst on the second screen information about the dataset was projected.

The iPad was also used for navigating on the maps. The installation was exhibited in the Appsterdam tent at Picnic for three days.”
Waag Society are one of the partners in CitySDK and are leading on the smart mobility work package.

Data Cross Fader wins First Manchester Hackathon 

On Saturday 17 November, 16 teams, including five teams of under 21 years old took part in Manchester’s first Hackathon – a day of coding, hacking and software development – organised by FutureEverything, Open Data Manchester and Manchester City Council. There were six cash prizes given.
Utilising the open data sets made available by Manchester City Council and public sector partners, participants were invited to hack, code, programme and experiment with the city’s open data to build groundbreaking new applications and develop digital services for the future.
The grand prize of £4600 was won by Data Crossfader, created by James Rutherford and Ashley Herriott, a visualisation tool that plots information on a map of Manchester to allow people to compare important sets of data. For example, using postcode details it shows the locations of road traffic incidents on a map, and then adds where speed cameras are, so if there is a particular area where accidents happen which are not covered by a camera, it easily shows that on a map.

Arts Holland Offers Cultural Linked Open Data 

In November Waag Society and it’s partners released Arts Holland. This platform is the primary resource for Linked Open Data on tourism and culture in the Netherlands and will play a role in the tourism (replication) pilot of CitySDK. The platform offers Linked Open Data to be used within CitySDK.
Linked Open Data is freely accessible data that is linked to other sources to make it more useful. Thanks to a special way of structuring data, computers are able to understand the meaning and the context. This makes searching for information a lot more effective and efficient. It is easier to find data and follow relevant links to find additional contextual information. Unlocking Linked Open Data stimulates innovation, because services can be developed that would otherwise be too expensive or technically unfeasible.

Finding Out What Travellers Want

Facebook-study reveals what travellers want

Sanne Broeder, Bibi Eckhardt, Lotte Wierema, Maartje van Engelen and Esther Nijdam (all five students of Masters Communication Science) conducted a study in the week of 14 to 20 January, in the context of their research seminar (http://projectimpactvu . and our project CitySDK.

The study was designed to gather information about travellers for the travel app that we are developing. This app should support users during their journey with up to date information. Traveldata provided by carriers will be combined with information that travelers themselves collect.


The broader objective of the study was to have a look at the experiences and needs of travelers. We wanted to know what kind of data our targetgroup wants to share and what kind of information is useful. We also wanted to know what is it like for travelers to share information whilst traveling. Is helping others in itself a reason to do this or is sharing only fun if you get responses? Based on these insights, we can optimize our app.

For the full story link here.


FutureEverything, Manchester, March 2013

The FutureEverything conference, taking place during the Summit of Ideas & Digital Invention in Manchester in March 2013, is a meeting ground for the digital and creative communities. It is focused on the trends and innovations in the digital sphere. It combines keynotes, critical debates, demos and experiences with open space and participatory sessions. In 2013 there are three main themes - Creative Code, Future Cities and The Data SocietyExploring the interface between technology, society and culture, it is the crucible that allows artists, technologists and future thinkers to share, innovate and interact.
All our welcome to Manchester for this exciting conference, and CitySDK will be represented fully, as we discuss the opportunities around open data, for businesses, developers and cities.
The conference takes place between 21st-23rd March 2013, and there will also be a developer focussed “innovation challenge” organised with Transport for Greater Manchester taking place on the weekend of 24th-25th – with real incentives for developing the best apps.

Future Internet Assembly, Dublin, May 2013

As part of the Irish Presidency, the Future Internet Assembly with be in Dublin from 8-11th May 2013. The details and registration are currently being agreed, but you can find out more at the website
A range of smart cities projects including CitySDK are looking to be involved at the event, along with the European Network of Living Labs, (ENoLL) and a smart cities day on 7th May is currently being organised featuring presentations from the connected smart cities network.

For further information and updates please check the ENoLL website ( and CitySDK Website (


Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum, 13th-15th March 2013, Nuremburg
Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum, June 2013 (TBC), Oulu
Living Labs Summer School,  28-31st August, Manchester


The Smart Participation is one of the three Pilot domains in the CitySDK. The purpose of the pilot is to create an open interface that acts as an issue-reporting channel between the citizens and the civil servants. The pilot is based on the Open311 technology, which is a standardized protocol for location-based collaborative issue tracking.
Forum Virium Helsinki, together with Helsinki’s Public Works Department and Sanoma Media Company, will introduce the Smart Participation Lead pilot in Helsinki. The Pilot enables citizens to give feedback via commonly used virtual platforms or applications.
What is smart participation? 
Smart participation allows citizens to have a two way interaction with their local council. It means that they can report issues, make complaints or raise issues, take part in consultations or participate in local democracy
Why is it important?
The way that we interact with our public services is changing. Most of us have smart phones or other devices, and will be using these as we travel around the city – and that means we might be contacting the city when we see a problem. This technology makes it much easier to provide better information – such as the location of the problem.  But if as citizens we report a problem we also want to find out when it was fixed, and this means better integration with the city’s internal systems.
What is Open311?  
Open311 was developed in the USA as a common standard so that wherever you were in the country you can know how to get in touch with the authorities, just as you’d ring 911 for an emergency (999 in the UK).  We can use the work that’s been done on Open311 as part of the CitySDK, adapting and expanding it for Europe.
Why use open data? 
Whilst its important to keep personal information secure, much of the information a city holds relates to the infrastructure they we all share. Therefore, by making the data open we can encourage new services and applications to use the data, leaving the city to concentrate on its core services. Developers and companies can develop new applications that use city data, and then its up to citizens which services most fit their needs. 
What happens next? 
Helsinki is leading on the smart participation pilot, and has developed the standards for inclusing in the CitySDK Toolkit. By standardising the way we request information or report faults it makes it much easier to develop tools that don’t just work in one city, but in many. The CitySDK V.1.0 will be made available via our Developer area  and the first city application will be developed in Helsinki.  The toolkit will be re-used in several other cities from June 2013 onwards, proviing its transferability.  Fpr any city attending FutureEverything 2013 in Manchester there will be an opportunity to find out more about the participation pilot. Please get in touch with Adrian Slatcher.
Read about the participation pilot here 
This project is partially funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme by the European Community
Copyright © 2013 Manchester Digital Development Agency, All rights reserved.
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