In 1900, only 150 million people lived in cities. By 2000, more than 2.9 billion people lived in cities. That represents an increase of 19 times – or 1,900%.
At the same time that this rapid urbanization is being experienced, critical challenges are being faced in climate change, pollution, and with the ability to provide energy and fresh water. All these factors impact the ability to design and build cities that can support such population growth, and meeting such a challenge will require rethinking the way that cities are designed, built, and managed.
On World Health Day 2010, the message of the World Health Organization (WHO) focused on health and urbanization. It was noted by the WHO that, in many countries, governments are unable to keep pace with the need to build essential infrastructures and keep citizens safe and healthy. While people who live in cities tend to have greater access to social and health services, city environments also concentrate potential threats such as sanitation, garbage collection, pollution, accidents, and infectious diseases.
Many governments and organizations around the globe are recognizing the ability of improved urban planning to combat the issues of such rapidly increasing urbanization and deteriorating urban infrastructure. In order to do this, a more holistic view of urban design is required, one that allows information about the city to be used and reused from initial concept design to final operation and maintenance. Digital information is exponentially increasing in volume, with digital outputs rapidly replacing paper outputs in many areas such as maps and building plans.
Galdos delivered a proof-of-concept project and a testbed deployment of an SDI to manage and share updates to a shared base map of the City of Riyadh. Working with the ArRiyadh Development Authority and a group of participating agencies, Galdos deployed an SDI network on the INtune™ SDI Framework to connect the databases to each other to manage a common base map. When updates were made to feature data shared by all the agencies, the updates were automatically propagated to the other agencies, maintaining the currency of the data across all the databases.
Abu Dhabi is another city at the forefront of leveraging digital information for urban planning and management. The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City is investigating in the creation of a three-dimensional model of the city.
Intelligent Cities (also known as smart cities) integrate technology and work with their government and citizens to improve quality of life and combine economic development with long-term goals for sustainability. Intelligent Cities address issues such as governance, energy, resources, environment, people, healthcare, and so on, in pursuit of becoming more liveable and resilient. Being resilient improves an Intelligent City’s ability to respond to challenges, and to deal with the rapidly increasing rate of change in the modern world.
To deal effectively with problems such as lighting, energy use, pollution, noise, and crime require an understanding of the city in three dimensions, and at different scales and levels of detail. The necessary information needs to be automatically captured, processed, checked for quality, and distributed from the people who produce it to the people who use it. Automated information exchange makes it possible to apply quality assurance mechanisms to check data integrity and even data semantics. This can reduce data errors resulting in lower costs, and even help to save people’s lives.
Smart Meters are already being installed in Canada, allowing more efficient and effective management of the flow of electricity. Smart meters also support time-of-use pricing, which encourages consumers to reduce electricity consumption during peak periods, smoothing out the peak use of power and benefiting the environment. Data from the power grid can be effectively visualized on a 3D city model. Two-dimensional data, such as images, can be combined with three-dimensional data, such as CityGML, to create an information-rich digital environment and to create navigable representations of cities.
The use of CityGML provides a rich information model for representing 3D urban objects. CityGML can be used to represent not only the buildings, bridges, and tunnels, but the surrounding terrain, transportation facilities, vegetation, water bodies, and so on that the buildings exist within. Detailed drawings that are used for permit processing can also be used to help build detailed, usable, three-dimensional models of the city itself, providing an information infrastructure that can support a broad spectrum of applications. New CityGML datasets are being continually added to the resources already available.
The City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue is an initiative that is making data and images about the city freely available. The Catalogue contains many different types of data, and also provides web feeds which allow users to subscribe to frequently updated content.
311 systems are designed to reduce the cost of emergency call centres by aggregating non-emergency services into a self-serve portal where people can find information and submit enquiries online. Such systems encompass more than just municipal government services; utility companies and private service providers can also be included. Cities are starting to develop and make increasing use of such systems to serve their citizens.
How Galdos Can Help
Galdos Systems has extensive experience with CityGML, and with its underlying GML standard. Galdos has developed a number of products for storing, managing, and visualizing GML and CityGML data, including the GML INspector™, a 3D tool for viewing GML and CityGML data that is extremely fast to load data, has a very small footprint, and creates beautiful, interactive renderings of buildings and terrain.
The Galdos Intelligent City Framework combines GML Inspector with the INdicio™ Registry Platform to create a framework for deploying an integrated, consistent, sustainable, and shareable 3D base of information (city model) on which specific decision support tools can be built. The Intelligent City Framework provides the information foundation and some of the tools for decision support, together with components from which specific decision support tools can be developed.
Contact Galdos Systems to learn more about GML INspector and the Intelligent City Framework, and to request a demonstration.