Streetlights Data Project

Building open infrastructure data as a foundation for smart cities

Why Collect Data on Streetlights?

Smart streetlights are at the front lines of the smart city; the switch from traditional high pressure sodium street lights to LEDs is a proven cost saver for cities that can help to finance smart infrastructure. And during this switch the new light poles become part of the Internet of Things: valuable real estate for hanging cameras, sensors, wireless antennas and more. Street lights also sit in a public right-of-way, a space that often comes with some precedent of public-private collaboration, meaning that private sector companies and entrepreneurs developing smart city applications can deploy technology on existing infrastructure. Residents can then reap of the benefits of these enhanced services and better data, and cities can enjoy a new form of revenue through leases on these pieces of real estate. But the data about streetlights right now is not easily accessible, on a regional scale, to any of these parties: government, nonprofit, private or resident. Cities don’t know how to value this asset and how to choose which tech goes on which pole or how to negotiate with the private sector. The private sector doesn’t know which poles are available and how best to pilot or deploy their new tools. And most citizens are unaware of the negotiations underway about this critical public infrastructure.

The Solution

This project is intended to make information about how are street lights across the greater Kansas City metro area are used more transparent and accessible.The Streetlight Data project is an effort to create an aggregated database of streetlights in Kansas City and an online portal for city officials, residents and private sector partners to understand how this critical resource is being leveraged now and how it can better leveraged going forward. The software development side of the project is supported by our Code for KC volunteers, and was launched at HackKC in September 2017. The project has three primary components:

  • Data discovery: Working with cities and other streetlight owners to understand first what data they currently collect, how it is stored, and what is available to share.
  • Data integration: Building a back-end database to store data from multiple sources, preserve privacy and security where necessary, and develop a database maintenance approach.
  • Data visualization: We are creating a front-end portal to make these data useful to cities, partners, planners, and residents alike.

The Github repo for the Streetlight Data project can be found here, or you can go straight to the README. If you would like to add your pole data, please email us at And if you’d like to contribute to the project, please join us Mondays at the Code for KC Hack Night.

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