Urban Observatory
City: London

Compare, Contrast, Understand

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Understanding Precedes Action

Richard Saul Wurman, Radical Media, and Esri bring you the Urban Observatory—a live museum with a data pulse. You'll have access to rich datasets for cities around the world that let you simultaneously view answers to the most important questions impacting today's global cities—and you. Compare and contrast visualized information for a greater understanding of life in the 21st century.

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What does it matter?

Why Does It Matter?

You have the opportunity to join a first–of–its kind virtual experience that takes advantage of GIS as an integrative platform. Information about urbanization does not exist in comparative form. By contributing, you empower your citizens, constituents, colleagues, and the global community.

Access the Art of the Possible

Access the Art of the Possible

The creative and technical forces at Radical Media and Esri have built a one-of-a-kind, futuristic virtual experience that's complete art and science. Your data comes to life in an interactive exhibit complete with the finest software, hardware, fiber optics, custom kiosks, quality sound system and monitors.

Contribute Your Maps

The focus of the Urban Observatory is on the people who live in cities, the work they do there, the movement made possible through transportation networks, the public facilities needed to run the city, and the natural systems which are impacted by the city's footprint. If you are a city with mappable data in any of these categories, we urge you to contribute maps to the project. See the Participation Guide for more information.

Participate

The Urban Observatory shows maps of cities to illuminate five major themes: People, Public, Work, Movement, and Systems. This subset of maps from the Living Atlas is primarily focused on urban topics. Each map includes one or more summary statistics by which city to city comparisons are made.

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Provide your information and Esri will get back to you within three business days.

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Work

  • Where are things made in the city?
    The industrial landuse map shows where manufacturing of all types occurs in the city.
  • Where are things sold in the city? 
    The commercial landuse map shows areas and buildings which host businesses that sell products and services.
  • Where is recreation sold?
    The recreational landuse map highlights areas dedicated to sports, hiking, boating, camping and other recreational activities.
  • What things have been built here in the last 10 years?
    The recent development map shows where new buildings, bridges and other structures have been built recently.
  • What work is generated from tax dollars?
    The tax dollars at work map shows the things which are created or maintained and services provided through tax dollars.
  • How many businesses are located in the city?
    The business map shows the locations and estimated size of businesses physically located in the city.
  • Which city structures are visible to most people?
    The visible structures map shows the buildings, bridges and other structures that are easily seen.
  • Which city structures are invisible to most people?
    The underground structures map shows the major structures found underground, such as tunnels, subways, water and wastewater systems, and communications.
  • Where is the earth being mined in or around this city?
    The mines map shows areas being mined.
  • What kind of work do people do here?
    The predominant occupations map shows the predominant job types available area by area in the city.

Movement

  • How fast can people drive around the city?
    The roadspeed map shows the city’s road network by posted speed limits.
  • How congested are the roads in the city right now?
    The traffic map shows current traffic conditions in and around the city.
  • Where does the city link to the rest of the world by air?
    The airports map shows the land and buildings dedicated to airport use.
  • How does the city incorporate rail into its logistical and transport needs?
    The railroads map shows locations of railroads and related facilities in and around the city.
  • How much of this city lies within a short walk of a transit stop?
    The transit access map shows a measure of walkable access to transit stops throughout the city and areas served outside the city.
  • Which areas in the city are used to support transportation of all types?
    The transportation landuse map shows where the land is used for transportation facilities.
  • Which areas of the city lie within a short drive to a freeway entrance?
    The freeway access map shows the neighbourhoods that lie within 10 minutes' drive of a highway entrance or exit.
  • What are current traffic conditions in the city?
    The traffic congestion map shows the road network's typical daily traffic congestion.
  • How fast can trains go as they travel to and into the city?
    The railway speed map shows the railways in the city by speed limits.
  • Where are the ports and docks in the city?
    The seaports map shows the water areas, land and buildings dedicated to seaports, with water depths indicated.
  • Where do the bus lines take you in and around the city?
    The bus lines map shows the locations of bus lines, bus stops, transfer stations and areas within a 10 minute walk.
  • Where do the subway/metro trains take you in and around the city?
    The subway and metro lines map shows the locations of subway and metro train lines, stops, transfer stations and areas within a 10 minute walk.
  • Where do the bike paths go in the city?
    The bicycle paths map shows the locations of subway and metro train lines, stops, transfer stations and areas within a 10 minute walk.
  • Where are some of the more active areas for spreading disease in the city?
    The disease vector map shows mass gatherings, transportation hubs, other known contributors to specific diseases.

People

  • Where do people live?
    The population density map shows higher concentrations of the population in and around the city.
  • Where is the housing?
    The housing density map shows density of residential housing.
  • Where do seniors live?
    The senior population pattern map shows where seniors age 65 and older live.
  • Where do the youth live?
    The youth population pattern map shows where young people under age 18 live.
  • How likely are you to find two people of the same race or ethnicity in a neighbourhood?
    The race/ethnicity diversity map shows a measure of how diverse the population is in each area of the city.
  • How likely are you to find two people in the same income bracket in a neighbourhood?
    The income diversity map shows a measure of how diverse the typical household income is in each area of the city.
  • How educated are the people throughout the city?
    The education clusters map shows what level of education is predominant in each neighbourhood?
  • How much money do people spend on food here, relative to income?
    The food spending map shows the typical amount of money people spend on food in each area.
  • What are the neighbourhoods in the city?
    The neighbourhoods map shows which neighbourhoods have the best connectivity, defined by roads, rail, subway.
  • How connected are the neighbourhoods?
    The neighbourhood connectivity map scores each neighborhood based on its connectivity, defined by roads, rail, subway, pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Public

  • Where are the open spaces in the city?
    The open space map shows where publicly-owned open space exists in and around the city.
  • Where are the privately owned open spaces in the city?
    The private open space map shows where privately-owned open space exists.
  • Which areas of the city have easy access to a park, and which are in the greatest need for park access?
    The ParkScore map shows areas within short walk of a park and areas of highest need for a park.
  • How does the city protect itself from fires?
    The fire protection map shows which areas lie within a short response time by fire truck.
  • How does the city provide police protection?
    The police protection map shows locations of police stations and other police resources.
  • How do aircraft serve the city’s needs?
    The aviation map shows how commercial, emergency, business and general aviation serve the city.
  • Where are the hospitals in the city?
    The hospital access map shows how many people live within a 20 minute drive of a hospital.
  • Where are the primary care doctors in the city?
    The primary care map shows where people can obtain primary care health services.
  • Where is culture found in the city?
    The culture map shows museums, theatres, auditoriums, libraries, markets, observatories etc.
  • Where does the city bury its dead?
    The cemeteries map shows where the city buries its dead.

Systems

  • What does the city look like from space?
    From the ISS maps show photographs of the city taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station.
  • What does the city look like from an airplane?
    The imagery map shows satellite/aerial imagery of the city at multiple scales.
  • Where is the city’s edge?
    The urban footprint map shows the city’s physical footprint on the land, in context of its legal boundary.
  • Which parts of the city are on higher ground?
    The high ground map shows the “average” elevation of the city, and which areas are in the top 25% in terms of elevation.
  • What is the current temperature in the city?
    The current temperatures map shows current temperatures and an indication of sun, clouds and precipitation.
  • What are the current wind conditions?
    The winds map shows current wind speeds and direction.
  • How much vegetation is visible in and around the city?
    The vegetation map shows vegetation in and around the city at multiple scales.
  • Where does the water come from for this city?
    The city watersheds map shows the watersheds from which a city obtains its water.
  • How old are the buildings in this city?
    The building age map shows the city’s buildings, symbolized by their age.
  • How old are the bridges and tunnels in this city?
    The bridge and tunnel age map shows the city’s tunnels and bridges, symbolized by their age.
  • How is the air quality in this city?
    The air quality map shows air quality indicators and stations.
  • What does it take to stay warm in this city?
    The heating needs map shows a measure of heating requirements for the city, in annual heating degree days.
  • What does it take to stay cool in this city?
    The cooling needs map shows a measure of cooling requirements for the city, in annual cooling degree days.
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