Cities nationwide are embracing new technologies that generate measurable data. How to use this data and for what purposes is a question that many cities are still answering. For instance, Dubuque, Iowa is using advanced metering tehnology to get a closer look at use of water, gas and electricity.

For more details, read the following article from Governing Magazine.

Cities Ramp Up Data Projects
Governing Magazine
Dubuque, Iowa, has a population of just under 60,000, but it's doing something few other cities of its size have ever tried. It's embedding technology in utility meters to collect and analyze water, gas and electricity use; it's even using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to track how some people move about to gain a better understanding of the city's traffic and transportation issues. Residents and city managers alike now have access to information about energy and water use -- information they can use to cut consumption costs and gain savings.

Dubuque's experiment is part of a growing trend in government towards more data and better uses for it. State and local governments will spend $58 billion on information technology in 2013, according to the market analyst firm Gartner. And while the ongoing fiscal problems have slowed IT investments, the use of technology and automation in states and localities will continue to grow, particularly where big data and analytics are concerned.

The data explosion can be broken down into two groups. First, there's the big data movement, where cities, counties and states have vastly increased the amount of data they collect, whether it's from smart meters or information captured by processes that have become automated. Using sophisticated software tools, officials can analyze the data collected and predict with great accuracy what should be done next. For instance, Chicago now knows with great precision that when the city gets complaints about garbage bins in a certain neighborhood, calls about rats will inevitably follow one week later.