Martin O'Malley

Chair of MetroLab Network

61st Governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate

Governing used to mean ideology, bureaucracy and hierarchy, where leaders sat at the top of the pyramid and commanded that things be done the way they saw fit. Today, this top-down approach has become obsolete; governing has taken on a more fundamentally entrepreneurial, collaborative and result-driven approach which requires leadership to be tuned into the community to achieve the best measurable results.

With access to real-time information and geolocation technologies, governments are fundamentally changing the way they solve problems and manage resources. Effective government uses common platforms – namely the internet and GIS - to work transparently, track and measure performance and to affect changes in the community.

Recognised as a global authority on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and location-based analytics in government, Martin O’Malley is widely regarded as one of the most effective managers in the history of US government.

O’Malley was elected Governor of Maryland in 2007 and held the position until 2015. Under his watch, Maryland invested heavily in public safety, college education, affordable healthcare and economic growth. The state was transformed from one of the poorest performing American states to one of the strongest, recovered 100 percent of jobs lost during the national recession and was one of the only seven states to maintain a AAA bond rating.

Prior to taking office as Governor, O’Malley had served two terms as the Mayor of Baltimore, during which TIME magazine named him “one of America’s five best big-city mayors” for the effort he made in cutting the city’s crime rate by 43 percent and shaving $100 million off operating costs.

He attributes much of his success in office to his use of advanced location-based analytics as a platform for transparency and accountability. As Mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley had developed CitiStat, a data and management platform that won Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award. Later, when he became Governor of Maryland, he implemented a state-level version of the tool - StateStat.

He now heads MetroLab Network, part of the White House Smart Cities Initiative. Supported by a $1 million grant, MetroLab is a coalition of partners from 34 cities and 44 universities which was created to offer technological and analytically-based solutions to challenges facing urban areas including health, security, mobility, infrastructure and environmental sustainability.

One of its current projects involves the city of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Argonne National Laboratory, and aims to install more than 500 sensors on city streets by 2017 to track pedestrians, vehicle traffic and air pollutants, among other metrics. The collected data will be used for planning purposes and making it publicly accessible will incentivize third-party application development including apps for weather reports, monitoring air quality or maps displaying safe walking routes at night.