How geospatial technologies can make Indian cities smarter
The second edition of the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index published by Institute for Management Development finds out that India’s top 4 smart cities New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad saw a significant drop in their rankings in the global Smart Cities Index.
As compared to Global Smart City Index 2019, New Delhi slipped down to 86th from 68th position, Bengaluru is now at rank 95 earlier it was 79, Mumbai is at 93rd rank and was at 78th in 2919 and Hyderabad ranks on 85th position whereas earlier it was on 67th. For the report, 109 cities across the globe were surveyed where Singapore was on rank one followed by Helsinki and Zurich
As per the report, ranking of Indian cities dropped this year because of COVID-19 and the cities were not prepared in terms of technology. Arturo Bris who is a professor at the IMD says, “We cannot ignore the impact of COVID-19. Those with better technology managed the pandemic better. Smart cities are not solutions but the technology that helps them be smart.”
“This year’s Smart City Index suggests that the cities that have been able to combine technologies, leadership and a strong culture of ‘living and acting together’ better withstood the most damaging effects of such crises” added Bris
Cities around the world started transforming and updating their smart city control centers with the spread of virus that helped them monitor public health. In this geospatial technology played a huge role. It made contract tracing possible with the help of real-time location data that gave a base to identify risk zones in cities.
Cities were measured on five key indicators, health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities, and governance. These indicators were used to give scores to each city and was than compared among each other on basis of their performance. Let us see how technology could have helped Indian cites in ensuring these five key indicators.
Health and Safety
For a city, health of its citizens is an indispensable criterion. A smart city should not only ensure an efficient health care system but also nurture an ecosystem that restricts the growth of diseases and fosters a healthier life for its inhabitants. This requires a holistic approach that not just focuses on sickness but also on preventing and encouraging approach to reduce diseases which possible if cities adopt “Smart Health Care System”. Smart Healthcare System amalgamates the power of technology with health. With help of location data, sensors and Internet of Things it creates a two-way communication channel that allows citizens to connect with authorities and it helps authorities in return to gather more health data of its citizens to disseminate required inform and further plan better health services in case of disease spread.
Smart health care System also includes a facility that can assimilate data collected from tests report, monitor condition of patient and communicate that information health officials in real-time so that right medical advice can be given to a patient making health facility just a click away.
Traffic congestion is one of the critical problems in Indian cities and this is coupled with poor public transport. Here geospatial technology can help create a geometrically correct 3D model that can help understand real-time traffic stimulation. It shows all the features of roads including connected ramps, highways, overpasses, bridges, flyovers, intersections, etc.
The technology also helps in route planning to avoid unnecessary delay providing and evaluating vital economic, demographic and cost estimates for planning new routes. This also helps in examining existing routes, collecting data and dissemination that information to the commuters to change route if case a particular road is congested.
For better public transport facility IoT and GPS module can track the movement of public transport, disseminate information to travelers about the seat availability, current location of bus or train, time to reach the destination and next location of it so that citizen can plan their journey accordingly.
Activities & Opportunities
A smart city becomes smart when it provides cultural space, has sufficient green spaces, ease to entertainment, and provide ample of opportunities to grow like employment finding services and has better education facility. Here GIS can help create a city model that can help take decision where to design green space and where schools can be built that can be accessed by everyone.
GIS enabled city information dashboard can be a single platform that can give information about cultural activities in a city and from where citizens can also purchase tickets. Here geospatial blockchain can create crypto-spatial coordinate system that can ensure safe payment method. Location enabled blockchain record specific time of payment and validates proof of location from where the payment has been done.
This city information platform can also serve as platform that informs citizens about new job opportunities in their nearest location.
A city that is smart must be transparent where citizens are well informed about local government decisions and can also give their feedback contributing to decision making process. Here Information and communication technology can help build a two-way communication channel between netizens and city administration to build a city as per citizens’ demand. The technology can help government examine the need pattern of the city and then cater to them accordingly. This also help create a collective intelligence system for better resource optimization.
Government organizations can also use Web-based public participatory GIS (PPGIS) to enable people’s input to decision-making processes. The system allows open, transparent, and an accountable environment where data does not lose its authenticity. It saves the collected data securely on the blockchain and validate it on nodes of peer-to-peer blockchain technology. The system also ensures open data accessibility to everyone.