Open Data is an essential part when creating Smart Cities, but this may sound like an exaggerated statement without substantiation founded. The best in these cases is to answer the question, how can Open Data help Smart Cities? Here we list ten examples to demonstrate the importance of this relationship.
We live in a world where more and more people are concentrated in cities (half of humanity, in particular, according to the United Nations) and more will be in the next years. The need for a sustainable and efficient development makes Smart Cities more a necessity than anything else.
On the other hand, Open Data has also become essential when it comes to developing and improving Smart Cities. More and more infrastructures allow data to be collected, even in real time, which can be of great value for the development of the city and its citizens.
Open data in favor of transport
The openness and availability of data, in addition to giving a greater sense of transparency by the governments, allows for greater creativity by users who seek and develop solutions on their own, as is the case of Rostagnol, a citizen of Montevideo.
This man found himself lost in his city because he did not know which bus he needed to get to go home. When he finally got there, he developed GxBus, an application that thousands of people now use to travel by public transportation. He did not have to ask for permits or paperwork, since the data was available to everyone.
In terms of transport, there is the Open Transport Net, project, which includes several pilot programs in different cities. For example, in Amberes, road works are reported, as well as other events (such as neighborhood celebrations) to prevent drivers that there will be more traffic or cut off.
The new technology, such as drones, is being put to the service of public safety and road safety with initiatives such as the Unmanned Traffic Management Initiative, which has launched the Kansas Department of Transportation. With the collaboration of AirMap, it will improve disaster recovery, response times, agriculture, construction and more.
Open data for tourism and development
Congestions not only occur on the road, traffic is often a problem in cities like Amsterdam, especially in its most popular museums and high tourist season. Under the CitySDK project, this pilot has been developed which provides real-time information on the status of traffic and in the meantime offers other tourist alternatives.
Thanks to the open nature of the data, administrations, continuously seek inspiration and creativity among its users and citizens. This is the case of the Open Cities project, co-founder of the European Union, which encourages giving ideas to improve tourism services and solutions to common tourism challenges.
Transparency is one of the great virtues of Open Data and that is what they want to promote from the Philippines with the CheckMy Barangay project, which seeks to expand the concept of Smart City to rural and smaller areas. Through this tool citizens can have access to data on budgets and government plans, and check on firsthand what is being done with their money really.
The European Union bets a lot on Open Data and that can be seen in such powerful platforms as the Urban Data Platform, created by the European Commission. Through a map, the web offers information of all types: demography, urban development, economy, transport, environment, weather…
Open Data for accessibility and sustainability
Open Data also helps build Smart Cities for the disabled, as is the case with result of the Smart Cities for All initiative. The combination of FourSquare and OpenStreetMap makes possible an application that gives auditive indications to allow easier navigation for the deaf.
In an effort to take care of the environment, the Baltimore Open Air project wants to monitor certain climate variables of the city such as temperature, humidity, ozone and nitrogen dioxide to reduce air pollution. These data are obtained through sensors called WeatherCubes.
The interoperability of Smart Cities
One of the biggest challenges facing the Smart Cities is interoperability, since there are many related systems involved and working together. That is why it is necessary to establish a common “language” to communicate with each other, such as Open 311, a communication standard that is used in more than thirty cities in the world.
In addition, through Open 311, citizens can also open non-urgent incidents based on geolocation and allow others to also interact with these incidents and provide more information or discuss it.
The transversality of Open Data
In a society in which values such as transparency or sustainable development are increasingly important, Open Data is a very important tool in the construction of Smart Cities and as an example of this, let’s present CEDUS, our city enabler, which is responsible for searching, collecting and analyzing geolocated data using public and private sources related to the different institutions and / or companies that participate in the management of the city.
Up to this point, this review of ten examples of how Open Data can help create and develop Smart Cities. As can be seen, one of the greatest virtues of the use of Open Data is its transversality: they are useful in practically any aspect of a city, from the Administration to the control of air quality or tourism.