India Urban Observatory and Video Wall

• Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory and Video Wall.

About the Urban Observatory

• It is a platform that uses data from different sources to enable analysis and visualization over a geospatial platform. Such platforms churn out interesting analyses and visualizations by collating massive datasets.

• The concept of Urban Observatories was formally initiated at the UN Habitat-II Conference in 1997 in Istanbul.

India Urban Observatory:

• It is an important component of the recently launched DataSmart Cities strategy that envisions creating a ‘Culture of Data’ in cities, for intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges.

• It will showcase the insights gained from the Observatory and the various Missions/ offices with the idea to proactively engage with citizens/ visitors in spreading awareness about the various initiatives of the Ministry.

• It would progressively become the chief data analysis and Management Hub of the Ministry and would enable evidence-based policy formulation, capacity building of ecosystem partners on data-driven governance, foster innovation through development of newer and better use cases thereby enabling solutions at scale and speed.


• The Data Smart Cities Policy allows cities to open their data to public view, such as number of hospitals, gardens, people, public toilets and other city management. Making cities ‘DataSmart’ is key to realizing the full potential of technology interventions and innovation ecosystems in cities.

• The Data Smart Cities Strategy also presents a Data Maturity Assessment Framework (DMAF), that measures the readiness and evolution of cities in their efforts to implementing the Data strategy.


• It is imperative for the empowerment of communities that cities work on using information available through various sources to improve their functioning, public services, governance systems, achievements and failures in the public domain, thereby, empowering their citizens through the access to information.

• The future of Governance is data-driven and Indian cities are beginning to adopt this change in their functioning.


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Urbanization – problems and remedies

Prelims level: India Urban Observatory, Smart cities mission

Mains level: Making the cities data-smart

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