At this year’s AGI GeoCommunity '13 Conference in Nottingham, Iain Langlands, GIS Manager, Glasgow City Council gave an overview of the £24million Future City / Glasgow program which will demonstrate how technology can make life in the city smarter, safer and more sustainable.
Glasgow had to compete with 29 other cities to win the Technology Strategy Board's ‘Future Cities Demonstrator'. "The city will demonstrate how providing new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life of Glasgow's citizens, and will allow UK businesses to test new solutions that can be exported around the globe." The Technology Strategy Board is the the innovation agency of the UK National Government.
The city has started a program that will build a new operations centre, establish a city technology platform and develop innovative demonstrator projects that address across four themes; public safety, transport health and energy.
For example, on the theme of travel/transport, there are initiatives aimed at reducing conjestion by route optimization and other technologies. On the energy theme, there is an initiative focussed on intelligent buildings, samrt buildings that can adjust its own lighting and heating based on analytics using a variety of sensor data. In the area oh health there is a program to improve social mobility. 70% of Glasgow's neighbourhoods are below the national norm for social deprivation and this program is designed to help address this issue. In the area of public safety, there are initiatives involvign closed circuit TV for monitoring streets and public areas and intelligent street lighting.
One of the "motherhoods" of the Glasgow smart city intiative is that data collected by the city will be open. This will enable intelligent operations and real-time analysis, not only by the city but by developers/entrepreneurs and is intended to promote research and the development of new businesses. The data will be available through a public portal.
Citizens are viewed as mobile sensors so that a lot of the data is crowdsourced. OpenStreetMap is the source for much of the street data. An example of an app that will be an important in empowering citizens is the MyGlasgow app that allows citizens to report problems such as potholes. A unique aspect of Glasgow's app is that it asks the citizen reporting the pothole to assess the risk the potholes represents. Rather surprisingly to some, based on the feedback they have gotten so far, the man in the street's assessment of risk is not very different from a professional road inspector's.
Empowering citizens to put all residents at the forefront of technology integration and application is key to the Future City Demonstrator, as well as collaboration between stakeholders. A small team of specialists are working on projects designed to show how technology can improve life in the city, helping to inform and connect its citizens, and help move towards a more self-reliant and sustainable society. Geospatial technology will be central to the success of the program. The geospatial platform for the city's technology appears to be primarily open source and includes MapBox, TileMill, and Quantum GIS.