SMART CITIES AND SMART TOURISM

Heidelberg City Kompass — Citizens information service powered by FIWARE

Challenge & Context

With a population of around 160,000 citizens, the city of Heidelberg is the fifth largest city in Baden-Württemberg (Germany). Amid the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, the city on the river Neckar is considered one of the most liveable cities in Germany due to its cultural charm, favourable climatic conditions, and urban flair. In addition to its tourist attractions, such as the old town and the castle ruins, the city is known for its venerable university dating back to the 14th century, as well as for many other universities and internationally renowned research institutions.

Solution

Central web portal

A key requirement was to make the information from the different systems available to the user in one central location. This requirement was realised through a web portal, which provides the space for dashboards, interactive maps and for further information. In addition, the dashboard was adapted to the corporate design of the city of Heidelberg.

Figure 1 . Dashboard

Digital mobility

Mobility is one of the main issues in almost every city when it comes to sustainability, environmental protection, and quality of life. For this specific initiative, the priority was given to two use cases: Traffic Flow and Smart Parking.

Figure 2 . Traffic Map

Traffic Flow

The first use case refers to the traffic volume in the city (Figure 2). The user can display this via a selection on the interactive map in the web portal. A colour gradation of the traffic flow provides the necessary information, so that users can adapt their movement to the current traffic situation. For this case, we use an open API from the navigation service provider TOMTOM.

Smart Parking

In the second use case, the information on the current occupancy status of the parking garages in Heidelberg was transferred to the FIWARE platform. Here, the user sees the locations of the car parks on the interactive map (shown in Figure 1) and can find out the occupancy status of individual car parks and view addresses and other information about the car parks.

Figure 3 . Car Park Data

Sustainable environmental initiatives

The field of action of environment and sustainability offers many possibilities for implementations in a city. Heidelberg has already successfully launched its first digital projects in this area. For our initiative, we have focused on the topics of waste glass disposal, winter service and weather services.

Figure 4 . Winter Service Data

Digital fill levels

The user can view information such as the location of the containers and the winter salt silos as a point-of-interest on the map (Figure 1) and read off the corresponding information such as the fill level and the address here. The corresponding dashboards also contain the collected measured values of the stations.

Weather and forecasts

In addition to the level measurements previously discussed, the city also runs IoT weather stations. Information from such stations is used to map the real-time weather in the city. In addition, using Open Weather’s APIs, the forecast information for the following five days is constantly integrated and made available to the user in a dashboard.

Figure 5 . Real-time Data from the IoT Weather Station
Figure 6 . COVID-19 Compass

Health Monitor

The COVID-19 pandemic shows how extremely important a stable health system and transparent communication is. To this end, we have developed a COVID-19 Compass using the FIWARE data platform.

How it works

When recognizing the use cases, the challenge was to aggregate the available data from the different source systems and to bring them semantically to a common level. For this purpose, selected FIWARE technology components were used, which serve as corresponding interfaces and allow the possibility of the data harmonisation necessary here. Another criterion for quick implementation was to use an already operational system for this project to be able to fully concentrate on the value creation of the respective cases. For this purpose, Engineering provided a FIWARE-based data platform as a “Smart City Lab”. This cloud-based platform has enabled the teams to integrate and build digital services in agile sprints. The close coordination between the technical team of Engineering and the Digital-Agentur Heidelberg with establishing technology governance made it possible to implement the requirements and make appropriate optimisations during this process.

The Engineering Smart City Lab

The “Smart City Lab” was planned by Engineering based on the reference architecture model “Open Urban Data Platform” (DIN SPEC 91357) and relied on best practices of the FIWARE community as well as other open source modules.

Figure 7 . Architecture of the Smart City Lab

Benefits & Impact

As our approach shows, by providing a pre-configured FIWARE platform, it was possible to fulfil the teams’ requirements in a targeted and timely manner. From a technical point of view, the strengths of the FIWARE technology lie in creating the basis of such a data platform due to the prefabricated solution modules and thus enabling the basis for the integration of the systems at hand. The initiative also showed that the high integration capability of the platform, for example through the configuration of the interfaces by means of the IoT agents, allows a variety of system connections, and consequently added value can be created across system boundaries.

Next steps

This initiative has shown that a FIWARE data platform is suitable for future projects for the digital city of Heidelberg and in further steps, a deepening regarding the technical requirements for such a platform will commence (MAsH Phase 2). Among other things, additional fields of action of the city are identified in which the platform can not only offer a benefit for the citizens and visitors of the city, but also for the city management. In this context, the city relies above all on citizen and committee participation to receive impulses for further developments. Possible fields of action for the city could include energy and building management as well as tourism.

References

For more information on the applications described here and on FIWARE, please visit our website: Smart Solutions Engineering.

Authors & Contributors

Marc-Pascal Lehrich
Head of Smart City Integration @ Engineering ITS AT
Contact @ marc-pascal.lehrich@eng-its.de

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