Michael Batty about Big Data and Smart Cities

This video is about the use of (big) data in urban systems. Batty talks about how they analyze the public transportation system in London. There are two things that are quite interesting. The first is his definition of big data: “big data is everything that doesn’t go into an Excel spreadsheet”. The other thing, that is actually more important, is about the problems that they have. Besides the pure quantity of one billion data sets, the main problem lies in the integration of different data sources and the quality of data e.g., missing bits in the data sets. It is very hard to compile data sets that make sense. I would even say that is the most difficult task if we want to use (big) data in urban systems. Just because we have a lot of data doesn’t mean that we have good insight. We can summarize it with the well known sentence “garbage in – garbage out”. In the area of big data it is even more difficult to estimate if a data source is appropriate or not.

Here is also a visualization of the analysis he is talking about

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