Traveling through New York City’s five boroughs is never easy, but thanks to cloud computing, the Big Apple’s Department of Transportation has been able to use its massive amounts of data with a suite of mobile and web applications to make it just a little bit easier.
For this, the New York City Department of Transportation was one of eight winners in the inaugural City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge put on by Amazon Web Services, along with the City of Asheville, the London City Airport and the City and County of San Francisco Planning Department and application developers Azavea, Neptune Technology Group, NuCivic and Str LLC.
Each of the public sector organizations were awarded $50,000 in AWS credits, while the developers were awarded $25,000 in AWS credits.
The eight winners were selected by AWS and a panel of worldwide experts based on the impact of its solution, likelihood of long-term success, implementation of AWS services and the potential to help other local governments solve similar challenges.
Steve Halliwell, the senior global director of state and local government and education at Amazon Web Services, told StateScoop that the award winners exemplify how state and local governments are using the benefits of cloud computing to provide citizen services, along with helping them run their own internal operations.
He pointed to the New York Department of Transportation, which built a suite of mobile and web applications that make real-time transportation information more accessible and useful to residents and visitors, including an interactive map of city parking regulations, a pedestrian city travel planning app and online maps of construction sites and capital projects, as the example of how the cloud can help.
“We’re seeing these governments take services that they’ve always done and putting them in the hands of citizens because of technology that just makes life that much easier,” Halliwell said. “For example, a city used to communicate travel data for buses via a sign at the bus stop. Now all that information is online or better yet on a mobile device. We’re seeing more and more of that.”
Halliwell also identified the project done by the London Airport, a traveler app that brings together real-time data from sensors, airline systems and airport services to help passengers efficiently navigate the airport.
He said projects like that can have lasting effects on a city: It makes air travel slightly easier and gives a visitor a positive feeling about a certain locale, increasing the chance of return trips. If a locale can use a local developer to build an application like that, it further increases economic development, so there is a litany of opportunities available.
“Its hard to look into a crystal ball when it comes to cloud, because things are so rapidly changing,” Halliwell said. “What I see now, though, is state and local organizations using the cloud to really make a difference for its citizens. They are now able to create applications that enable better services that make an impact on those using them.”
The AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge winners are among the growing number of partners, government agencies and nonprofits leveraging AWS for a wide range of applications and initiatives, including the U.S. Department of the Navy, National Institutes of Health, Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the City of Melbourne.
With more than 800 government agencies worldwide, AWS and its partners have made it easier than ever for government agencies to procure reliable, secure cloud infrastructure from AWS by adding several contract vehicles over the last 12 months, including U.S. Department of Treasury Public Cloud Web Hosting Services, the Department of Interior Foundation Cloud contract, the Texas Department of Information Resources contract and the Federal Aviation Administration’s eFAST contract.
More information on the winners via Amazon Web Services:
Four grand prize winners were selected for the Best Practices Award, recognizing innovative and impactful local government projects running on the AWS Cloud:
· New York City Department of Transportation – Mobile and web applications that make real-time transportation information more accessible and useful to residents and visitors, including an interactive map of city parking regulations, a pedestrian city travel planning app, and online maps of construction sites and capital projects.
· City of Asheville – Modern, cloud-based disaster recovery system to keep essential city operations up and running in the event of power outages, earthquakes, and major weather events.
· London City Airport – Traveler app that brings together real-time data from sensors, airline systems, and airport services to help passengers efficiently navigate the airport.
· City and County of San Francisco Planning Department – Website for citizens, businesses, and city employees to access detailed property information for zoning, real estate transactions, and permitting.
Four grand prize winners were selected for the Partners in Innovation Award, recognizing applications that solve local government challenges:
· Azavea (HunchLab) – Machine learning application that uses data on crime history, weather, neighborhood businesses, and other real-time information to help police departments employ “predictive policing” to forecast the likelihood of crime and redirect resources to high-risk areas.
· NuCivic (NuCivic DATA) – Open source data management platform that allows governments to make a wide range of open data sets available to the public. Civil servants can use these data sets to benchmark their cities and inform decisions and policies; developers can use them to build services and applications for citizens.
· Neptune Technology Group (N_SIGHT IQ) – Cloud-based data mart for local utility companies to leverage water usage data to better manage local resources. Utility companies have used N_SIGHT IQ to reduce local water usage and customer complaints by giving citizens the tools and information to better track and manage their water usage.
· Str LLC (ePropertyPlus) – Property inventory management system that helps cities effectively manage community revitalization efforts by aggregating and mapping data on ownership, development grants, and construction plans for vacant and abandoned properties.