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Making Cities Smarter: Getting From Here to There

The first step in building anything is to establish a firm foundation. For the smart city, that foundation starts with geospatial data. It places all other data in a real physical and visual context. Two cities that are using geospatial data to improve operations are Edmonton, Canada, and Zurich, Switzerland.

Edmonton was one of the first cities to have all its geospatial information in digital format, making the transition in the 1970s.  Today, it uses that data to increase the quality of life for its citizens. For instance, the city’s transit security division combines geospatial data with reports of crime to detect patterns.

“They can recognize a pattern and deploy…resources to prevent crime or apprehend a suspected criminal,” said Tim Beauchamp, IT enterprise architect for Edmonton.

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is also on the cutting edge of geospatial data use. The city’s central geoinformatics department continuously collects and pushes new survey data to other departments in the city, using Intergraph’s GeoMedia.

“There are about 600 different layers in there,” said René Müller, head of geoinformatics for Zurich. “From this database, GIS users in various city departments can connect to it and view the data.”

Read more about how Edmonton and Zurich are building smart cities upon a geospatial foundation in the first issue of Perspectives magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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