The Taipei City Government on Tuesday announced a two-year collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and seven universities to increase the number of databases available for big data research by academics and to nurture the development of big data professionals.
The city is the first government in Asia to join the AWA Public Data Set program, a centralized repository of public data sets that can be integrated into AWS cloud-based applications, allowing the public access to innovative analysis on AWS cloud-based applications or other tools, the Taipei Department of Information Technology said.
“Big data analysis and application is a global trend, and it is the government’s responsibility to take the lead in driving the development of the data economy,” Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) said.
While three of the schools are in the Taipei area — National Taiwan University, National Taipei University and the University of Taipei — National Tsing Hua University is in Hsinchu, Feng Chia University is in Taichung, National Cheng Kung University is in Tainan and National Dong Hwa University is in Hualien County.
The department wanted to make some of the city government’s big data available to the public, especially university students who could use real data instead of simulated data for analysis and application, so it spent more than a year modifying regulations, integrating the data sets and locating suitable collaboration partners, Department of Information Technology Director Lee Wei-bin (李維斌) said.
The city is providing 18 sets of historical and real-time data in the first stage of the project, and hopefully the big data application ecosystem continues to grow as researchers use it and provide feedback to the city on improving future policies or to the system as new sets of useful data, he said.
“There is a term we use, that ‘data has gravity,’ just like planets have a gravitational impact on the objects around them. As density increases, that gravity increases — data has the same impact on services and applications,” said Dean Samuels, solution architect manager at Amazon Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Putting data on AWS makes it available to a wider range of worldwide users, allowing Taipei to benefit from research conducted by students, academics, organizations and other stakeholders, and also educating a new generation of data scientists who can use data to manage city operations more effectively, Samuels said.
National Taipei University vice president Lin Jia-chuan (林嘉 ?) said researchers used to give policy suggestions based on data collected from small-scale surveys or observations, but with open big data that is accurate, the researchers might be able to give suggestions that are more realistic.
A previous collaborative effort with the city saw researchers analyzing data on Taipei’s buses and MRT trains, including the location of each bus at one-minute intervals, said Chiang Jung-hsien (蔣榮先), a professor at National Cheng Kung University and director of its Computer and Network Center.
They could use integrated data to suggest the best route to a destination according to real-time traffic conditions, he added.
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