Global mapping company Esri unveiled an "Urban Observatory" at its annual conference in San Diego this week that allows users to compare data points for major cities across the world side-by-side. Users can download a free application and compare data on traffic density, population and more in cities such as Tokyo and Los Angeles. "Interactive maps and standardized information let you investigate every aspect of life. It establishes a common language for cities to share and learn," Esri founder Jack Dangermond said.

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