January - 2017 - issue > CXO Insights

Geospatial information - Making a 'smart city' really smart

Hanuman Chodagam, Deputy General Manager-Smart Solutions, Cyient
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Hanuman Chodagam, Deputy General Manager-Smart Solutions, Cyient
Headquarters in Hyderabad, Cyient is a design, manufacturing, networks & operations, data transformation, and analytics company focusing on large industries such as Aerospace, Defense, Rail transportation, Off Highway, Power generation, Mining, Oil & Gas, and many others.

In his book, 'The Rise and Fall of Nations', author Ruchir Sharma posits that the number of new cities is a benchmark for the growth of a nation. Countless studies point to the rise of mega cities and cities across the world. Discussions around urban sustainability 'smart cities' gained significance in this context. The definition of 'smart city' is fuzzy, not always consistent and has no single template. However, one would agree that a smart city must enable integration of human, physical, and digital systems operating in the built environment and development of predictive models which hold the promise of improving the quality of life, improving the governance and making cities prosperous, inclusive, sustainable and resilient. Data and information form the bedrock of such integration and fundamentally a smart city is one that unifies data from a wide range of sources - authoritative data sources, embedded sensors, public services, citizen reports, telecom companies, and more - to generate actionable intelligence for decision-making.

ICT and Geospatial Data

The growing role of ICT in facilitating this integration of data has uplifted the significance of location/geospatial/map data and technology to the next level. Thanks to GPS, consuming location and creating location data on handheld and mobile devices has become a common practice. Prior to GPS, accurate location was determined by human-intensive survey process. Satellite imagery and aerial imagery are also key techniques to create location/geospatial information.

Geospatial technology facilitates the capture of such detailed data from a broad range of inputs; present data in a user-friendly, intuitive map formats; presents an opportunity to dynamically maintain data in real time; and allows individuals to input additional information, creating a platform for innovation. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications are enabling analytical capability through feature-based modelling of environments. Location/geospatial data have a range of applications across sectors, but hold particular promise to help achieve government's ambitions around smart cities.

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