Data Drives is an installation by Senseable City Lab's Live Singapore team: an intuitive, accessible software tool for manipulating and visualizing ‘urban big data’, the wealth of information generated by the city around us. Hosted by the National Museum of Singapore, Data Drives puts an interactive touch-table into the hands of visitors, so they can play with data in new ways. Like a giant iPad, this specially-designed interface allows visitors to come together, engage with Singapore's big data, and reveal the hidden dynamics of the city around them.
“Although a small city-state, Singapore generates terabytes of data per day. As devices become smaller and enter every dimension of human life, large amounts of data are generated that allow us to ‘sense’ the city around us in new ways”, says Carlo Ratti, Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab and Principal Investigator at SMART. This trove of information comes from broad sources, and - in the case of Data Drives - includes: public and private transport, mobile telephone usage, electricity consumption, weather data, and road conditions.
“The data is there, but how can we visualize it and analyze it? Or rather, how can the people of Singapore see their own city in a new way? Big Data calls for new tools”, says Siqi Zhu, a researcher from the Senseable City Lab and leader of the exhibition team. “Although it is still a prototype, Data Drives allows anyone to put their hands into data, understand it, visualize it, and reveal the hidden dynamics of the city around them”, adds project curator Matthew Claudel.
Until now, creating scientific analysis of such information was the domain of large teams of specialists, but the Data Drives interface brings high-level analytics to your fingertips, in a fun, intuitive, visual way. Discover, for example, how people are moving throughout the day; see how Singapore connects to the world through Changi Airport; find the relationship between weather conditions and road incidents; learn how friends talk to friends and how people connect.