Vaguely Creepy Interactive Maps of the Day: Spying on Europe's Smart Cities
The increasingly data-driven nature of urban infrastructure makes it possible for so-called "smart cities" to monitor everything from public toilets to electromagnetic fields. With Watch_Dogs WeareData, an online companion to a video game set to release later this year, anyone with a laptop can now parse through the inner workings of London, Paris, and Berlin in various levels of detail and complexity.
In the video game version, which we wrote about last year, the city of Chicago depends on data from a central operating system to solve complex problems like traffic and crime, and the protagonist must choose to leverage that data either for good or evil. On the WeareData site, incredibly detailed real-world, real-time data are packed into interactive 3D maps, offering an impressively realistic view of just how much information smart cities already have at their fingertips.
In the graphic below, which shows the area around the Bank-Monument Tube stations in London, each red element represents a single traffic light. Clicking on one while visiting WeareData brings up a network of traffic lights nearby.
This screenshot pinpoints where CCTVs are installed in the Aldgate area of London.
The orange elements below depict billboards near Boulevard Murat in Paris, and clicking on them reveals data on each advertisement's exposure.
You can click through all the interactive elements for the three cities here. What would you do with centralized data on any city? What would you do if you could tinker with it? The eerie sound effects on Watch_Dogs might favor sinister ideas, but that can be turned off.