Data Challenges for Smart Cities


Cities represent the front line of potential geospatial data benefits, and availability gaps.

As cities grow even more dense in terms of population and suffer growing challenges from climate, pollution, congestion and demands for improved quality of life, technologies have to come to the rescue. High quality information provides one of the key opportunities to improve the effectiveness of all city based systems, including infrastructure, risk awareness, transportation and supporting social integration. Policy, data and technical systems in urban environments are so complicated that no single vendor, standard or solution can deliver an effective infrastructure. Standards and effective collaboration between systems, not only geospatial capability but across all information types is becoming critical.

We are seeing a massive growth in the availability of geospatial data in urban environments from a plethora of sources.  Traditional geospatial data captured by manual surveying is giving way to a massive number of sources, from airborne drones, sensing vehicles, massively increased numbers of sensors in fixed infrastructure and human based sensing.  Data is of highly variable type, level of detail, quality, ownership and currency. While government organisations are moving to open up data, this comes with challenges in terms of civil liberties and the risk of personal data exposure. A range of organisations are collecting data at all levels and this data represents both a company asset and a means for further growth. But as a result much data is not available to further the overall good.

The amount of data, and so its persistence for future analysis or availability at the right place to serve the community is in question because of bandwidth and infrastructure constraints. Predicting the infrastructure needs is becoming more and more complex. The application of standards at all levels in this space and creative integration of technologies implement them efficiently is critical to the success of the overall endeavor to improve cities.

We can provide advice and help in the most effective ways to guide policy, use standards and encourage enterprise to maximize information availability and consistency.