Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Urban Mapping
The era of big data presents incredible opportunities -- smarter cities, stronger companies, faster medicine -- but just as many challenges. Storage is scarce, systems overloaded, governments and businesses know too much. The world now contains unimaginably vast amounts of digital information, which is growing exponentially. Managed well, this data can be used to engineer new engines of economic value, unlock scientific breakthroughs, and hold politicians accountable. Managed poorly, it can cause great harm.
The financial crisis showed that complex models that analyze large quantities of data do not always reflect financial risk in the real world. The financial crisis was sparked by big data -- and there will be others. But the data deluge will also generate millions of new ideas for how to solve big problems, build new markets, and expand existing ones. Ideas Economy: Information is a fresh look at knowledge management for the information age.
The Economist will bring together theorists, strategists, and innovators who understand how to harness data to create value and advance individual, corporate, and social good. We will sift through the vast quantities of current thinking on data to uncover the best ways forward. And we will apply the lessons of the Ideas Economy, about innovation, human capital, and intelligent infrastructure, to uncover new sources of growth and accelerate human progress across the globe.
Since founding Urban Mapping in 2006, Ian White has led the company to profitability and into new markets. Beginning with the explosion of local search and local interactive advertising, Urban Mapping introduced the industry's first database of neighborhood boundaries, critical to powering the needs of local interactive publishers. Early customers included Google, Bing Maps, MapQuest and Yahoo! Under his leadership, Urban Mapping has developed other data products that follow the "hard to collect, difficult to maintain" model, including public transportation, off street parking and enriched content about shopping malls. White has been on a quest to liberate, collect, and curate the most valuable geographic information and make it available for any organization to easily consume and derive value. In 2009, Urban Mapping launched Mapfluence, a cloud-based mapping platform with over 10,000 variables of on-demand data. By offering software-as-a-service, businesses can spend less time searching and more time analyzing location intelligence.
After ten years in business consulting and politics Mr. White began his mapping career as a consumer product innovator with the Panamap, a patented map that represents multiple layers of imagery on a plastic substrate. Based on a novel printing technique, streets, subways and neighborhoods of urban areas appear based on how a user orients the map. The Panamap has received over a dozen international awards and appeared in publications from The Wall Street Journal to CBS News to VOGUE.