Using Mapbox to tackle cities’ challenges

Originally published at www.mapbox.com.


In September, we announced Mapbox Cities and started looking for three cities we can work with to solve the biggest urban challenges. Since then, more than 70 cities from six continents applied, laying out their communities’ challenges and goals. We’ve spent the last few weeks interviewing cities and lining up collaborations to help cities win. Here’s a quick recap of where we are:

First, we’re excited to share that Amazon Web Services will collaborate with Mapbox to ensure that featured partners of Mapbox Cities have access to relevant global datasets hosted through the AWS Public Datasets program and access to AWS Cloud Credits for Research to provide infrastructure for any experimental big data analysis of their own data.

Briefing during Missing Maps mapathon in Paris, 2016

I just got back from a week of great conversations and mapping in Paris, learning more about how Mapbox is uniquely positioned to help local governments.

And early next year, we’ll announce our featured partners — cities with whom we’ll work closely to leverage Mapbox tools and data to solve real problems. There is much more to come.

What we’re learning already

Our intention is to prepare cities for a smarter future by sharing the tools we built, datasets, and our experience in engaging local communities around the globe. Mapbox is built on open data from all over the world, so it is exciting to see that so many cities are proud of their open data portals and want to know how open geospatial data could be more useful to their residents.

In reviewing applications, some themes emerged across cities. Many applicants aspire to improve communications between the city and residents, to effectively visualize zoning regulations, infrastructure changes, and capture the discussion around new developments.

Maintaining urban infrastructure is a huge part of a city’s responsibilities and expenses. Many cities are actively looking to improving bike connectivity, and are launching Vision Zero commitments to ensure cyclist and pedestrian safety. More green spaces, smarter transit solutions and resolving traffic congestion are high priorities for Mapbox Cities applicants.

Other applicants’ concerns include improving disaster response after repeated flooding or rising sea levels, policies preparing for the advent of autonomous cars, innovative strategies for business development, smart tourism, real estate, and climate change.

All Mapbox Cities applicants are hard at work to improve their cities, which makes it hard for us to select only three partners from all these great applications! Even if your city isn’t selected as a featured partner, all cities that applied have received access to Mapbox tools and resources. Check out the following Mapbox guides to get started solving the urban challenges in your city today!

Have you built a solution to solve a problem in your city? Share your work with us on Twitter @Mapbox!

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