Analytics: Making Sense of City Data

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has gone from reacting to fires to anticipating them. No, it doesn’t have a crystal ball, but it does have data, algorithms and predictive analytics on its side. The FDNY has taken paper-based information from building inspections and built a database that can be analyzed based on a risk-scoring algorithm to help anticipate a potential building fire. The predictive tool works because the data is clean and the system shares information from other departments.

City fire departments aren’t the only agencies taking advantage of analytics. The technology can be found in police departments, economic development efforts, public works, permitting, utilities and public transit, to name a few.

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