GeoForAll UrbanScience CityAnalytics

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Welcome to "Geo for All" Urban Science and City Analytics: 'CitySmart'

  • Chairs: Chris Pettit (Australia) and Patrick Hogan (USA)
  • We support the 'Open Cities Guiding Principles.'
    • All material created is made available for all under an Open License
    • All material is carefully designed (API-centric modular componentry) so that it can be built upon by others
    • All participants aim to reuse, extend and invent material (in that order)

Note that it is eventually desirable to maintain one core platform architected with an open API for functionalities (menu system), than to have competing platforms. But before we get to that rarefied 'Linux' place, we will benefit from healthy collegial competition, with the best features of each ending up in our collective's decision for the core platform finale.

Who's Here?

  1. Please let us know of your interest to participate by adding yourself to this list.
  2. Please identify yourself as one or more participant categories: (a) U - User/practitioner; (b) D-Developer; (c) R - Researcher/Scientist; (d) E - Educator. This is important for us to know as it relates to the "Social Dimension" below.
  • Chris Pettit, University of Melbourne,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Coordinate the implementation of eResearch tools to support urban researchers across Australia under the auspices of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN).
  • Charlie Schweik and Alexander (Sasha) Stepanov,
    • Participant categor(ies): R, E
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trying to build educational service learning opportunities for students on advanced GIS using our campus as a "testbed."
  • Jim Miller, University of Kansas, Computer Science,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Using NASA World Wind for several open source geo-visualization efforts, including Lidar and multivariate scalar and vector field visualization.
  • Brandt Melick, Information Technology Department Director, Springfield Oregon USA,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Manage IT and GIS in support of community development, involving public works, and fire and life safety. Coordinate NSDI exchanges of cadastral, elevation and environmental information between local, state and federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Ant Beck, University of Nottingham Research Fellow,
    • Currently transitioning into CityAnalytics looking at city wide entropy based energy management simulations. Have aspirations for an open, big data environment.
  • Phillip Davis, GeoAcademy,
    • The GeoAcademy is using QGIS 2.8 to provide Massively Open Online Courses through the Canvas Network to students around the globe for free. We currently enroll over 4,000 students in our March 2015 cohort.
  • Patrick Hogan, NASA World Wind Project Manager,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Building open source virtual globe technology meant to stimulate innovative solutions managing geospatial data, whether open or proprietary.
  • Antoni Perez-Navarro, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya,
    • Participant categor(ies): (c) R - Researcher/Scientist; (d) E - Educator
    • Currently working on indoor positioning systems. Previously developed the Context Aware Recommender System. In the GIS subjects we use gvSIG and QGIS, and Geomedia as proprietary software. Our students have also developed projects using Open Layers, GeoServer, Google Maps and Open Street Maps.
  • Evangelos Mitsakis,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Centre for Research and Technology Hellas - Hellenic Institute of Transport, Greece. Working on climate change adaptation, urban resilience and smart cities, focusing on intelligent transport and mobility.
  • Gábor Remetey, Secretary-general, Hungarian Association for Geo-information (HUNAGI),
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Strategic planning, implementation and consultancy in geospatial IT, and building contacts at the domestic, regional and global levels for Hungarian GIS and the Earth Observation community.
  • Xinyue Ye, Computational Social Science Lab, Kent State University,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • My research focus is open source space-time analysis method development and its socio-economic application, especially on economic inequality, urban development, crime, and social media.
  • Andrew Hunter, GIScience Group, University of Calgary,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Teach GIS, Land Use Planning and Cadastral Studies. Research focuses on the development of interoperable (open source) frameworks for land use planning, land development, and geospatial approaches for enhancing community engagement.
  • Hande Demirel, Geomatics Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Lecturer for undergraduate and graduate students on spatial information systems. Research focus is spatial data acquisition, modelling spatial data, intelligent transportation and impact analysis for smart cities.
  • Lucy Bastin, University of Aston and Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Focus: quality issues with geospatial data and VGI, e.g., making best use of cheap, plentiful but variable sensors such as weather stations for urban decision making on, e.g., dynamic routing of gritting trucks. I work on interoperable solutions for communicating data quality , e.g., UncertML and the OGC SWG on user feedback.
  • GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Arizona State University,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Applications of free and open-source spatial analytics and decision support systems to urban modeling and scenario planning (but who at GeoDa do we contact?).
  • Bob Basques, City of Saint Paul, Mn. USA,
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • My background is in Spatial Information Management for the City of Saint Paul, Public Works, with just under 300,000 residents. Providing access to hundreds of spatial layers, originating from the City, the Metro Region, County, State, and Federal sources to both public and internal users. Big Open Source proponent and developer.
  • Jeffrey Johnson, Independent Consultant, World Bank GFDRR
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Geospatial Modeling for Disaster Risk Management
  • Xingong Li, Department of Geography, University of Kansas (
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • My research interest in Urban Science and City Analytics is in water infrastructure and smart water use.
  • Cameron Shorter, Co-coordinator of, which packages up ~50 of the best Open Source GIS applications, along with data and quickstarts.
    • Participant categor(ies):
    • Also geospatial solutions architect at, Sydney, Australia.

Global Drivers for OSGEO Solutions

Key Research Questions

  • 1. How can we transform existing cities or create new cities that are sustainable, productive and resilient?
    • Easy, we work together as one species to solve common problems.
  • 2. What is the role and opportunity for big data (and small) in the area of analytics, science and visualisation for shaping our cities?
    • The data simply awaits our gracious intelligence to do good things with, not for profit, but 'for the benefit of all' per NASA's motto,
  • 3. How can we empower citizens, community groups, planners, policy and decision-makers to work cohesively in solving the problems our cities face such that they successfully engage in a sustainable urban future?
    • By making this Road Map a reality, all cities will have something they need yet also own.
    • This also gives them a way to share back the solutions they discover 'for the benefit of all.'

CitySmart 'The Road Map'

  • We also heap a world of praise upon Brandt Melick, Information Technology Department Director, Springfield Oregon USA for putting this CitySmart app idea into action! We need to help more cities step forward like this, lead by example!

  • We consider a dual push-pull approach: a technology push and an application pull. The push is "People of city X, see this open source app we developed for all of us!"). The pull is "Urban Science and City Analytics experts (Houston), we have a problem! We need your help to design the solution."

  • 'CitySmart' App Themes/Data-type (feel free to expand):
  1. INSPIRE Data Specifications,
  2. Urban Planning,
  3. Intelligent Transportation,
  4. Health & Medical Services,
  5. Public Safety & Emergency Services,
  6. Environmental Protection,
  7. Intelligent Buildings,
  8. Utilities: Smart Grid, Smart Water, Sanitation, etc.,
  9. Location-Based Services,
  10. Indoor Positioning System (added by Antoni Perez Navarro),
  11. Context-aware Recommender Systems (added by Antoni Perez Navarro),

  • Data sharing – Municipalities need to be able to share information with site developers, site constraint specialists (environmental scientists, planners and engineers), utility service providers and regulators. The following information is requested on a regular basis for a wide variety of location-based solutions, namely (ESRI products, Autodesk products and MSFT Office products such as Excel, Access, etc.). These data sets most often include:
  1. INSPIRE Data Models,
  2. Imagery (3-inch pixel is preferred, 1 foot pixel is less preferred, 1 meter is getting much less preferred)
  3. Cadastral Information (parcel polygons, Rights of Way (ROW), property ownership, assessment and taxation information and property class)
  4. Address Information (house number, street name, City, zip, site location (coordinates) and zoning information)
  5. Jurisdictional boundaries (incorporated areas, city limits, county boundaries, etc.), urban growth boundaries, public safety response areas
  6. Elevation Information: DEM’s (raster), DTM’s (vector), contours and spot elevation points, as well as mass points and break lines
  7. Waterways and protected areas: wetlands, fish-bearing streams, endangered species habitat, well-head protection zones, etc.
  8. Facilities a.k.a. utilities: waste-water, storm-water, transportation systems, power, drinking water, etc. who owns the facility, who maintains the facility, etc.
  9. Structures/facilities: bridges, building foot prints, complexes, monuments, etc.
  10. Documents: reference material, procedures, regulations, metadata, etc.
  11. Lidar, everyone wants it, yet few understand how to put Lidar to good use. The City of Springfield is spoiled with 8 points per meter, and they know what to do with it. Though they still want for better tools to work with it (i.e., our CitySmart app).

  • Technical Challenges - there are many, here are just a few: raw data made useable, data dating, accurate georeference conversion, unit conversion (metric to standard), data storage, data security, firewalls, standardized metadata, etc.
  • Yet to be discussed:
    • Legal challenges e.g. investigating and suggesting the required framework to preserve privacy, ensure equity (equality in access to data and computing capacities), protect IPR and copyrights.
    • Economic challenges e.g. creating sustainable Research Infrastructures (RI) for the public and private sector, investigate possibilities for Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
    • Social challenges e.g. fostering public engagement in Big Data (theory, i.e. participation in related debates, and practice, i.e. data gathering and analysis).

  • Social dimension sub-roadmap

Any serious roadmap on urban science should certainly consider the social dimension. In this respect, we would need a subsequent actions such as:

  1. Identify in our Who's Who here what categories of participants we are and what are their incentives or barriers for participation. How can we organize to meet the needs of the participants involved? For instance, for academics, it might be how to utilize or create peer-review publication venues for contributed work. For practitioners, can we define their key or most pressing needs? For developers, are they in situations where their employer will see contributions to a global effort something they should be doing?
  2. Identify the intended direct beneficiaries (aka users, customers, consumers) - instead of focusing on producers of data, infrastructures, software and services. Possible beneficiaries might be: urban planners, scientists/academia, city councils and majors, citizen, young people (pupil and students), etc. While these intended audiences might partially overlap, all might have different needs and need a different approach for participation.
  3. Identify and get into contact with some representatives of the intended target group, e.g. with champions in digital social innovation and open minded individuals, or via associations that are directly connected to these communities, such as citizen associations.
  4. Engaging with these people in order to identify their real needs for city analytics, in order to first of all get their requirements, but also to co-develop products, get direct feedback (e.g. be including them in review panels for the NASA WW Challenge), etc.
  5. Expand from few collaborations into a wider network in which solutions are replicated or adopted for one city after the other - each time customized to the individual needs.
  • A couple important topics here that might be useful in future grant proposals.
    • First, the idea that we as a group are undertaking "transdisciplinary research around urban science" (Dedeurwaerdere, 2014). According to Dedeuwaerdere (2014: 138): 'Transdisciplinarity implies that the precise nature of the problem... needs to be defined coorperatively by actors from science and the life-world.'
    • Second, perhaps we should focus on topics related to urban sustainability and resilience and the geospatial analytical processes and tools needed to support decision-makers in that capacity? Dedeuwaerdere (2014: 139) defines sustainability as the 'maintenance of capital," and is often used in the context of "environmental sustainability" -- the maintenance or non-declining of natural capital. So one question for our group might be what areas of "urban sustainability" might we want to focus our efforts on?

  • Key City Analytic Needs or Needs by our Community above. (Add topic entries or your name under existing entries)
    • Crime mapping analytics
      • Tom Mueller

  • Use-Case: Urban Planning and Site Review – Municipalities need to evaluate the impact of proposed development activity, on existing development and on the natural environment. This typically includes estimating how much cut and fill is proposed, how proposed land alteration impacts surface drainage, how proposed structures will connect to city services (waste-water, storm-water, drinking-water, power, etc.), how steep the roads will be (slope for fire trucks), and proximity to wetlands and other protected waters of the state. These data most often include:

Technologies Available In Our Network

Potential Partners

CitySmart 'The App'

The Task

Develop a CitySmart App with your idea for the Requirements doc, essentially the 'specs' for what this Urban Science - City Analytics, CitySmart app looks like, and will likely be based on information in the 'framework' documents mentioned above in the Road Map section.

The City of Springfield Oregon has already shown us the way forward,

Some basic requirements:

  • 3D Virtual Globe interchangeable or simultaneous with 2D Map along with Projection Choices
  • Imagery & Elevation Import
  • Extensible Architecture (Modular Componentry)
  • Data Retrieval via REST, WMS, WCS, WFS, GML, User-Defined
  • OSM Placenames, Boundaries and Roads
  • Picking and Decluttering
  • Shapefile and KML Import
  • Measurement Tools
  • Flooding and Line-of-Sight Calculation
  • Subsurface Visualization
  • Shapes: Placemarks, Path, Polygon, Extruded Polygon, Custom, HTML5-able Balloons
  • Volumes (& Shapes), follow terrain or maintain constant elevation above terrain while moving

This CitySmart app needs to allow for some early successes so we can get buy-in from 'real' municipalities to work with us and thereby keep value-added precisely on target. After the Road Map, then what? Then we challenge Earth's FOSSy development community to provide their solution in response to the Road Map. 'Twoud be fine if we could gather a nice award package for that.

After we (the OSGEO community) evaluate these ‘solutions,’ some will be asked to mashup until in the end we have one OSGEO/FOSS4G/GeoForAll CitySmart app. This app will have an open API for the menu system, for drag-n-drop of functionalities. This will allow each city to tailor the CitySmart app for their specific use. This will also allow the world community to continually optimize old functionalities and design new ones, whether proprietary or FOSSy.

Who Will Do This?

Whoever wants to! We ask academic and other organizations to first help us with the Road Map (the Requirements doc), such as those listed as Potential Partners, Or just build it! All are welcome!

Why Do This?

Because we can! And more importantly, because there is a world full of urban management need, much of which is identical no matter what urban location we are in. For a little encouragement, how about a NASA crystal bull for the best Road Map, just like for the Europa Challenge,, and of course NASA T-shirts. We need YOU (whoever you are) to design the requirements doc and build the for the CitySmart app.

If you are brave and good, just build it and be a lighthouse guiding our future. If you do this, and no one else does, you get the crystal bull. If others do theirs along with you, then we vote and that winner gets to mash-up the best from what's in the ‘other’ CitySmart apps. We will ask the Region and Theme Chairs to do the voting,

Reference Material

  • Dedeurwaerdere, T. 2014. Sustainability Science for Strong Sustainability. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Resilience: A Bridging Concept or a Dead End?
    • “Reframing” Resilience: Challenges for Planning Theory and Practice
    • Interacting Traps: Resilience Assessment of a Pasture Management System in Northern Afghanistan
    • Urban Resilience: What Does it Mean in Planning Practice?
    • Resilience as a Useful Concept for Climate Change Adaptation?
    • The Politics of Resilience for Planning: A Cautionary Note