The phenomenon of growing urbanization represents a gigantic challenge to deal with endless problems related to the fact that our planet Is urbanized in an unprecedented way in the history of mankind. In figures, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, and a large part will do so in megacities.
This new reality is transforming cities, just as smarts cities do, Smart City and geolocation forming an inseparable binomial of present and future marked by constant interdependencies. Being relatively recent phenomena, on the other hand, they do not cease to be defined in practice.
Within the transformation of the city into Smart City, the importance of the data and the technologies of the digital era that connect us are obvious. But it is no less true that an approach is required that encompasses different disciplines, and in this multidisciplinary approach, geolocation plays a key role.
When it comes to developing advanced technological solutions such as applications, portals and platforms, the phenomena of Smart City have an important territorial dimension. Not in vain, a good part of the information that is generated is geolocalized.
Smart City and geolocation: The great potential of GIS
The power of mapping cannot be exaggerated in this context, since a Geographic Information System (GIS) allows essential aspects as visualizing and analyzing data according to different patterns to save costs, improve decision making and understand what happened, is happening and will happen in a geographical space.
Applied to Smart Cities, localization technologies have great transformative power, both globally and locally. In this sense, citizenship has this double dimension: on one hand, cities are fundamental points in the global network of the world, where borders are each time more diffuse.
On the other hand, the immediate environment has gained a prominent role, referring to the concept and reality of the smart city. In the context of the new digital age, we have a number of fundamental tools, such as smartphones, mobile broadband, sensors or applications, many of them based on geolocation.
Thanks to the new technologies applied to Smart City projects, the interconnection opens a whole world of possibilities within a more immediate physical proximity. The fields of application are many, but above all it requires the use of smart data that adequately guides the possibilities offered by the engineering.
Geolocation can make a big difference when it comes to endowing usability with an application, as well as opening up endless possibilities when it comes to make an idea a reality, enriching the result. In fact, in addition to allowing a more beautiful and usable design it offers unique solutions taking into account the territorial dimension of smart cities.
Geolocated Information and the Big Data
Contextualizing the geolocation aspect in the Big Data universe or in the Internet of Things (IoT) means to affirm that a good part of the information generated is geolocalized. To a large extent, we can include geolocated social networks, geotagged information by natural language, postal addresses, GPS traces and connections to mobile device networks, as well as the same IP addresses.
Regarding Geographic Information (GI), the technological stacks for Big Data are oriented to the reformulation of the analytical algorithms of classic GIScience in order to adapt them to the paradigms of distributed computing.
On the other hand, within the Big Data technology stacks in the cloud applied to the GI, CARTO, Mapbox, ESRI and LUCIAD are the leading companies, which stand out for offering advanced analysis tools.
For example, CARTO allows you to create attractive interactive maps and is a tool for exploration and analysis of vectorial IG, in addition to Builder, a new tool that combines data analysis, filters and dynamic mapping.
Likewise, Mapbox has created a vector and raster analysis platform aided by individual technologies and free software, as well as allowing access to a huge catalog of satellite images thanks to its alliance with Digital Globe.
The previous ones are only a few brushstrokes of the great possibilities that the new technological times open to the GIS. What this is, definitely, is to conclude that we have a window of opportunity to create a good App that uses or is based on geolocation.
Urbo, is an example of success case of a smart city application based on geolocation.
The app consists of a dashboard that analyzes real-time data from sensors scattered in cities to improve municipal management in different areas, such as waste, parking, lighting or the environment, among others.
The objective of the project, whose portal can manage technicians and consult citizens, is to achieve an economic and environmental sustainability, as well as improving the quality of life of citizens. It is, for our purposes, a project that has been a major technological challenge in which a multidisciplinary team has participated and geolocation is key, while different technologies have been combined.
Urbo is not a specific case of success; there are many projects that Geographica has developed related to Smart City and geolocation.
Thanks to private web platforms based on CARTO composed by different territorial dashboards, it is possible to monitor from the interior of a commercial place – indoor mapping – to a complete territory, in order to improve the decision making in each area.
In other words, given that things happen in a specific place and time and technological advances, it is about taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the technological field of geolocation to design better solutions applied to smart city.