Pandemic is spurring innovation in Scottish urban data cities today


According to a new study from the University of Glasgow, data sharing is important to improve the response of Scottish local governments to the COVID-19 crisis and to play an important role in recovery.

This reflects the feedback from other cities. This analysis provides insights for local governments inside and outside Scotland.

Is COVID-19 Scotland Local Government: Data Requirements, Features and Uses The report highlights the key advances sparked by the pandemic and makes recommendations on how to preserve these benefits, address challenges, and further accelerate data innovation.

Dr. Justine Gangneux, Research Associate at the University of Glasgow’s Urban Big Data Center, commented: Service to the community. Hence, data has been central to local governments’ response to local pandemics. “

Data transfer

Urban Big Data Center researchers analyzed data usage from autumn 2020 to spring 2021. A total of 31 of the 32 Scottish municipalities are NHS Scotland, the Scottish Police, the Scottish Government and several (voluntary) third sector organizations.

The survey found that 83% of respondents said that internal data sharing increased during COVID-19, 79% said they used new data sources, and 74% confirmed increased data collection. It was.

The exchange of data in the public sector has also increased significantly, particularly between local governments and the NHS. This includes, for example, sharing shielded data so local governments and volunteer groups can provide help such as food parcels.

New data

Respondents rated public sector data as much more important to managing pandemics than private sector data and data from social media and the Internet of Things (IoT). “Very important” is 11% and “Very important” is 11%.

“Surprisingly, we find that so-called ‘smart’ or ‘new’ data such as social media and Internet of Things data is in high demand compared to traditional managed data generated by public sector organizations. but not. But the participants [see it playing] It’s a more important role in the future, ”said Professor Simon Joss, Professor of Urban Future at the University of Glasgow.

The use of new data by local governments is still in its infancy. However, according to the report, central and local governments need to develop their data skills and provide examples of successful applications in order to take advantage of further opportunities. Conditions. City of Glasgow, etc. For example, use CCTV to create anonymized open data numbers for pedestrians and vehicles.


Research has shown that the pandemic has also exacerbated many of the existing data challenges that local governments are facing.

Gangneux said:

Data integration and ensuring data quality and standards, including interoperability, were identified as key challenges.

To address these issues and ensure long-term results during the pandemic, the report makes 15 recommendations, including: Adopt common digital and data standards. Integrate protocols for data exchange across the public sector. And support for legacy systems.

This study by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) was carried out in collaboration with. Scottish Local Government Digital Office.

Image: Wave Break Media Ltd |

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