Building Smart Cities Capabilities by Harnessing Big Data

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A smart city is one where citizens’ lives are enhanced with technology. Instead of being technology-centric, smart city solutions are citizen-centric. It is built upon an ecosystem, data collection and idea contributions to build capabilities and improve lives. With Singapore’s limited land area, one of the challenges is the efficient use of the limited space for a more efficient, reliable and enhanced transportation. As part of the Smart Nation initiative, the Infocomm Development Agency of Singapore (IDA) collaborated with Ecquaria to tinkle with new technologies to address transport challenges and improve citizens’ commuting experience.

A smart city is one where citizens’ lives are enhanced with technology. Instead of being technology-focused, smart city solutions are citizen-centric.

Harnessing human traffic flow data, the Smart Cities Capability Development project provides authorities with an evidence-based understanding of general travelling patterns and population density at different times. Integrating data from multiple sources, the system will provide critical insights for authorities to quickly identify and respond to transportation issues.

Beyond that, the generated insights will improve policy making. Urban planning and transport authorities can utilise the data to anticipate and address the needs of the various type of commuters. Improved planning will shorten the average time and distance citizens travel between home to work, translating into a more efficient and green economy.

Dynamic and elastic infrastructure to consolidate Big Data

While designing the architecture, there are various considerations to be made to ensure that the data is compressed, stored and processed without losing its originality. The architecture supporting the application needs to be able to handle a full range of unstructured data with various compressibility. Considering this, new technologies such as Hadoop and OpenStack is used to ensure that the infrastructure is dynamic and elastic.

Hadoop enables the application to handle a wide range of data formats, ranging from binary to free text, images and videos. Using Hadoop as a framework ensures that the infrastructure can support the processing and storage of extremely large data sets in a distributed computing environment while OpenStack facilitates scaling on-demand.

Geospatial analytics to visualise and analyse travelling patterns

The aggregated data is used for analysis and visualisation. With geospatial analytics capabilities, users can interact with data through its dynamic and rich visualisation. The dynamic heat maps are designed based on Singapore’s geographical map. It empowers users to drill down to obtain information based on a selected location and, at the same time, have a holistic picture. Using the filters, users are able to monitor and gain insights in a single view, understanding the traveling patterns and monitoring the change in population density across time.

Combining Data Analysis and new technologies such as Hadoop and OpenStack, the solution transforms “big data” into valuable interactive insights, providing an end-to-end perspective for city planning and operations.

Developing Smart City Capabilities

Ecquaria has been actively using technology to solve tomorrow’s problems. Working with various government authorities, Ecquaria using data analytics to develop smart city capabilities. Laying the groundwork for intelligent custom operations, Singapore Customs’ New Trade Statistics System (TSS) will enhance the overall process of trade data collection and processing. While the new JTC Corporation (JTC) Statistical Portal will make statistical data available for public to interact with and perform geospatial analytics dynamically.

Also, Ecquaria has developed the weather information portal that provides real-time weather information by location and promote active citizen engagement through ideas crowdsourcing. Providing a quick and simple way to resolve everyday issues, the Ecquaria SNAP comes with a mobile app that encourages e-participation – the foundation of all smart cities.

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