You are on page 1of 21



Location data is paramount to intelligent cities planning and

development. Geographical information provides a common frame
of reference and big picture analysis for entrepreneurs, citizens and
policymakers alike. The new place-based thinking demonstrates that
location can no longer be considered just a pin on a map. Location
is now the dynamic nexus of the physical and digital in real time.
The availability of geo-tagged digital data creates rich new layers of
information that can be utilized at scale to create evolving solutions
for more livable cities, intelligent policy and design, better research,
improved emergency response, predictive analysis, and economic

Making Future Cities Intelligent

Major Challenges Facing Cities

Technology and Data Serve Cities

Smarter Devices with the Internet of Things

Putting it on the Map with Open Data

Powering Predictive Analysis

Streamlining City Services

Exploring Location and Innovation

Engaging with Open Data

Planning a Smarter Future

Today we are more connected than ever before. We use technology
to enhance, share and control the world immediately around
usturning on lights, networking on demand, locating the nearest
bike rack or parking space, all from pocket-sized devices. However,
this connectivity is not only expressed person to person and at the
individual level. It is also expressed at the community and city level
where improved communication, participation and collaboration
has increased with access to data and information for agencies,
institutions and citizens. Todays cities are laboratories for
technology, connectivity, networks and initiatives, driven by citizens
and entrepreneurs together with governments and institutions.

Citizen participation is now acknowledged as an essential ingredient

for intelligent city innovation, success and longevity. Experts have
acknowledged an evolution of phases in smart cities with a new
smart cities development emerging in 2014. In contrast to the
tech-driven provider method, or a city-driven tech enabled method,
leading smart cities are now welcoming citizen co-creation methods
as the next evolution in smarter cities1 . The ideal vision for smart
cities is one where infrastructure and services are connected with
technology to empower informed citizens and government officials
across agencies as partners. Civic engagement is mobilized by the
best smart city/future city paradigms, where citizens are active
stakeholders in policy that produces sustainable results.

Our collective futures are increasingly tied to cities. Future

forecasting is a risky business, but failure to recognize and respond
to emerging demographics and economic patterns and
environmental challenges is more perilous. Urban areas are major

Boyd Cohen, Aug. 2015, Oct. 2015, The 3 Generations of Smart Cities, Inside the development of the

smartcity, Fast Company, <>
economic engines for countries. A recent McKinsey report2 indicated
that US cities with populations of 150,000 or more generated nearly
85 percent of the countrys GDP in 2010, compared with 78 percent
for big cities in China and around 65 percent for Western European
cities. The global influence of cities continues to expand, including
ever larger portions of the world's economy. While this influence
has obvious economic benefits, metropolitan areas also use a
disproportional amount of the worlds resources and produce a
much higher percentage of greenhouse gases. The Climate Positive
Program3 rates the percentage of city-produced greenhouse gases
at 75% of all those generated by human activity.


As budgets shrink and populations rise, pressure is on governments
to accomplish more with less. The difficulties of managing modern
urbanization include such environmental factors as changing
coastlines, flood zones and aging infrastructure. The Harvard
University Center for the Environment4 reports that coastal cities are
frequently constructed no more than three feet above sea level and
that an estimated 37 percent of the global population live less than
60 miles from coastlines.

Emergency planning and risk assessment must be revised and

updated in the face of extreme weather and climate change.
Metropolitan areas everywhere face similar tasksproviding daily
services, maintaining deteriorating infrastructure, implementing and
monitoring policy and technology decisions, and protecting

James Manyika et. al. Urban America: US cities in the global economy, Apr. 2012, McKinsey Global Institute,

McKinsey & Company.
Framework for Climate Positive Communities, 2013, C40 Climate Positive Development Program.
Rising Seas, Imperiled Cities, Corydon Ireland, n.d. Harvard University Center for the Environment.
residents. These tasks will be further complicated by the increase of
aging populations globally.


The savvy smart city is one where technology and data serves the
goal of improved standards of living, including sustainable use of
resources and pollution reduction. Local authorities are looking for
ways to maximize shrinking resourcesto do more, to do it more
efficiently, and to use data for informed decision-making.
Municipalities must manage these services across geographic
areasand the ability to harness real-time data is vital for
understanding and analysis.

Data sources fall roughly into three main categories: government

(some portions of which are public), publicly available sources
including social media and the internet, and commercial data.
Sources of data continue to surface, and the rate of new available
data sources will only increase. Data and analysis is now available to
anyone: governments, companies, institutions and individuals.
Estimates vary, but they all assume substantial growth for
technology in city planning, including resilience innovations, the
Internet of Things, and vast sensor networks.

Allied Business Intelligence research indicates that smart cities

technology is an $8.1 billion market today and in five years, the
market will grow to almost five times that size, reaching $39.5
billion. The nonprofit Climate Group goes even further, estimating
that the related technologies and industries will grow to become a
$2.1 trillion market by 2020. The central role of cities in the global
economy and the related environmental impacts bring a smarter
kind of city into sharper focus as a necessary component in
development. Future cities must be smarter, more resilient, and
more invested in technology. They must utilize the
interconnectedness of citizens, communication networks, data and
technology for the benefit of all. This paper will survey current and
future smart cities developments and best practices.


The growing availability of broadband and sensors in devices has
created an expanding network that analysts say will reach over 26
billion connected devices in 2020. The Internet of Things is most
broadly described as the network of connections between anything
with an on and off switch to people or other devices or machines.
This can be anything from cars to refrigerators to jet engines to
wearable devices. Companies are looking to technology to make
everyday life easier and more networked for consumers: the juicer
starts juicing the moment feet touch the floor, the copy machine
orders its own refills, cars can call ahead when running late due to
traffic. Planning and technology for automated or smart homes and
workplaces is an expanding market. This connectivity opens more
concerns for companies and governments and citizens over data
and privacy.

The IoT means there will be ever more data, and that governments,
companies and people will need to be able to store it, analyze it and
keep it secure. IoT planning shows that smart city technology is not
limited to public, urban zones. Connectivity also has benefits inside
homes, and in agriculture. Non urban zones are harnessing new
technologythe Smart Cities Council5 reported new test beds for
the Internet of Things outside of Washington DC that will provide a
data network for farmers. Dan Hoffman, Montgomery County's
Chief Innovation Officer, said that the network would help farmers

Doug Peeples, IoT testbed targets improved farming practices, Sept. 2015, Smart Cities Council.
track ground temperatures and weather, as well as record and
report on dairy requirements during milk production.

The National Science Foundation recently granted $3.1 million to an

Internet of Things project based in Chicago. Located on the streets
of Chicago, the Array of Things 6 uses interactive, modular sensor
boxes to collect real-time data on the citys environment including
climate, noise levels and air quality. The boxes are attached to
existing structures like bus stop signs and street light posts. The
data collected will be made available and free to the public, inviting
the development of apps based on real-time city data. The AoT is
monitoring the external environment, not people, and will not
collect any personal or private information. The AoT technology and
policies specifically avoid any collection of data about individuals by
building privacy protection into the design of the sensors. In homes,
on streets or in the fields, the Internet of Things has a fundamental
role to play in future planning.


Geographic information science was once an area dominated by
specialists. However, advancements in this field now mean that
geolocation intelligence can be accessed by anyoneand location is
becoming a primary method for discovery and analysis. When
community and city planners have access to their geographical data,
they can see patterns over time and place, take effective
preventative action in the most vulnerable areas, and make
decisions to improve the quality of daily life. is a unique data portal providing detailed

information about quality of life across England. Using 15 large data

Ben Miller, Obama Places $160 Million Bet on Smart Cities, Internet of Things, Sept. 2015,,

sets from the United Kingdoms government open data website,, Illustreets was created to address the difficulty of
finding relevant information on neighborhoods and towns in
England. The London-based developers of Illustreets, Manuel Timita
and Katya Koval, initially faced a daunting challenge: how to take
about 30,000 polygons, six million reported crimes, over 20,000
schools, nearly 400,000 public transport stations and stops, and
tens of thousands of census and deprivation records, and present it
all in an attractive and usable format. After testing over a dozen
mapping technologies they selected CARTO for its excellent
capability in manipulating, visualizing, and publishing vast amounts
of geospatial data. Using CARTO, they created a mapping application
which can be explored in a variety of ways. Timitia and Koval wrote:

For those looking only for places where they can afford to buy or rent
property, we made it possible to filter the areas on the map by price and
other criteria, by using CartoCSS and spatial queries via the SQL API.
Whilst for many users getting quick information about the standard of
living, crime rate, or average house prices might be enough, we wanted
to allow a deeper level of exploration for those interested in discovering
as much as possible about a location. Heres where CARTO has saved us
weeks, if not months, of development time we simply did not need any
other backend. The user needs only click on the desired location, and
then the SQL API does its magic. 7

Manuel Timita and Katya Koval, Finding the Best Places to Live in England with Illustreets, Sept. 2013, Oct

2015. <>
Illustreets showing quality of life and other metrics

The developers achieved their aim to take the largest amount of

data possible, put all of it in a geospatial app, and make it intuitive
and useful to a non-technical audience. The users they initially had
in mind were people looking to make informed decisions about
moving, as well as satisfying those simply curious about the places
where they live, work and commute. However, the actual use cases
of the platform have been wider and include integration in
education as a pedagogical tool. Secondary school teachers are now
using Illustreets in the classroom to teach about geography and
open data. Using open data in an accessible interactive visual,
Illustreets helps engage citizens in better informed decision-making
in daily life, as well as inspiring broader dialogue on resources and
The open data movement is an essential component of smart cities
that is helping to make governments more transparent and to
accelerate citizen participation. In the United States, the U.S. Federal
governments website 8 shows 187,082 datasets available to
the public along with lists of apps utilizing the data. Among these
are alternative fuel finder apps, air quality apps, consumer
awareness apps, and climate apps.


CARTO partner Vizonomy created a risk platform analysis
dashboard, Asterra, using open government data. The dashboard
allows communities and businesses to see infrastructure and
populations vulnerable to a rise in sea level and flooding. Local
resiliency officers or urban planners can run customized analysis
using federal standards at the building, neighborhood, or city level.
The CARTO-based platform uses the most up-to-date datasets
available from the government: FEMA floodplains and National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data along with more than

Data Catalog, Oct. 2015, Data.Gov, <>

70 other data layers representing buildings, schools, populations
and more through an automatic sync of updated information in
the cloud. Ricardo Saavedra, founder of Vizonomy, noted the
benefits of the risk management platform:

Vizonomy enables cities to become more resilient against

climate-derived hazards by developing software that leads to immediate
action. As a powerful web-based platform, CARTO is allowing us to build
solutions that make communities more resilient against flooding and
sea level rise.


Place-based thinking is integral to the smart city model. Intelligent
city thinking and planning acknowledges that a location is not just a
point on the mapit is an ever-changing axis of virtual and material
information. The future of geospatial intelligence, real-time spatial
information, and citizen participation within cities is enabled by
location data and analysis. As a smart city location intelligence
industry leader, CARTO serves both the public and private sectors
with a user-friendly platform that anyone can use.
interactive data portal
for the city of Medellin, showing a traffic layer.

In Colombia, the city of Medelln has created a data portal map

aimed at opening communication channels between government
and citizens. The Mapas Medelln9 website offers a downloadable
app for tracking public transport, real time social media updates,
and information about traffic and routes. City occupants can find
detailed information on infrastructure and construction including
budgets, projected completion dates and stages of development.
Tourists can search for landmarks and points of interest. The
interactive city map website uses the CARTO Engine for data and
visualization, seamlessly integrated with Google Maps. Mapas
Medelln hosts data layers including traffic, weather and satellite,
addressing the varying needs of citizens with simple interactivity.
City government projects like Mapas Medelln are providing a
framework for transparency and accountability with open data and

Historically, the mandates of city agencies and departments were

mission-specific; interdepartmental or interagency collaboration
was not necessarily emphasized. The smart city model encourages
cross-agency collaboration and is challenging historical obstacles to
information sharing and innovationcity dwellers young and old
have come to expect more transparency and opportunities for
participation. Governments applying new technology are working to
connect city departments and agencies like transportation,
administration, healthcare, education, utilities and construction.

Smart cities can also provide models for collaboration between

public and private sectors. In order to achieve long-term goals,
partnerships should include those who are invested for the long

Sigamos Medellin, Oct. 2015, <>
run: universities, nonprofits and citizens along with government and
the private sector. Governments introducing smart cities planning
may try a top-down approach starting with leaders, a bottom up
approach that originates with citizens, or a more synergistic
approach where citizens work with one another along with the other
two models.


Forward-thinking cities are consistently partnering with citizens and
government agencies to make better decisions on resources,
planning and data gathering. Kate Hickey, VP for Local Government
Services at AppGeo, a CARTO partner, explained how their app,
MapGeo 2.0 helps local city agencies:

Everybody needed base maps, query tools, access to property

information and the like...the more users interacted with MapGeo, the
more they wanted to do. They wanted the power of heatmaps and the
impact of animated visualizations. City leaders wanted summary
graphics to share their reasoning with constituents. CARTOs mapping
and analysis features make data easy to understand, and the platform
is really robust, so we know we can build even more great functionality
over time.

MapGeo has been adopted in over 100 cities and towns, providing
integrated services where they are needed most. For example,
information from land records is crucial for determining zoning
regulations, collecting taxes, managing right-of-way along with
dozens of other daily municipal tasks. Powered by the CARTO APIs,
MapGeo converts records tables into visuals showing trends and
patterns. Users can see economic development indicators including
property sales and values, construction activity, neighborhood
revitalization projects, commercial site availability, and track
changes over time. The CARTO Engine provides actionable insights
for informed citizens, entrepreneurs and city administrators,
helping cities improve operational efficiency with geolocation and
interactive data-driven maps.

CARTO tools provide MapGeo 2.0 users with on-demand visualizations, like this heat map of property values.

The dynamic visualizations include heat, time lapse and cluster

maps. Municipal leaders and administrators can utilize them to
analyze resources and patternsproviding more insights into
making a town, city or region a better place to work, live and play.

Open data also has a role in art and culture, where innovation and
imagination meet. It may be counter-intuitive, but data can be
expressive of human experience at the sensory level. Projects in
smart cities like London engage with the human imagination by
tapping the senses of the crowd, harnessing social media to create
projects at the intersection of urban planning and culture.

For example, the interactive map titled Discover the Olfactory

Symphony of London10 was created by a group of London-based
researchers using the CARTO Engine. City officials and urban
planners deal primarily with the management of bad odors, but the
Smellscape project11 shows that people are also exposed to pleasant
or evocative scents in the urban landscape.

The interactive website aimed to create nuance in thinking about

smell and place, with map layers identifying the scents including
animals, nature, petrol and even chocolate.

Discover the Olfactory Symphony of London, Rossano Schifanella, et al.Oct. 2015,

Urban Smellscape, Rossano Schifanella et al. Oct. 2015,
The Smellscape creators research indicates that smell has a potent
influence on perception, but that it is often overlooked by scientists
and urbanists, partly because it is not easy to record and analyze
scents on a broad scale. The researchers tackled this challenge by
mapping locations of smells reported on geo-tagged social media to
create reliable maps of smells. The data displayed in the interactive
map can provide insights on traffic abatement or greenway
planning, along with a practical guide for anyone looking for new
ways to navigate the city, including cyclists, runners, pedestrians
and car drivers. But it also creates a richer, layered representation
of urban life, and an utterly new picture of how we interact with our
Government transparency is increasingly important to citizens, and
governments are also reaping the benefits of sharing data. Cities
have benefited from making data sets public accompanied by a call
for crowdsourced ideas and apps. The availability of data allows
local civic hackers, developers and businesses to tap into the
potential of data in providing free or paid services. Cities with smart
open data strategies profit from providing readable and
mobile-friendly data with Web APIs along with providing education
and program visibility for citizens. This approach lets communities
and cities benefit from citizen and business development, as well as
new concepts, and the engagement of the tech sector in civic
projects. By providing access to transportation, education and
health care data, governments are helping people find new ways to
solve problems. Open data is a profound resource for any city that
wants to boost economic development.
Bikestorming app with NYC data.

Bikestorming is a mobile app that uses open government data to

increase the rate of cycling in cities. The app utilizes CARTO to map
ten data sets related to biking to help NGOs, city planners and city
government improve cycling for citizens. The data sets in the app
include bike path routes, shelters, bike racks and public parks. Cities
can pave the way for innovative apps and developers by providing
modest incentives and open calls around open city data.


For private companies, citizens, government agencies and
nonprofits, CARTO is the technological solution for the changing
economic and environmental landscape. Integral to smart cities, the
open data movement has increased public access to government
data, and new sources of data become available every day. CARTO
makes it easy for non-experts to make sense of raw data.

The Federal government website has been publishing data

since 2009, inviting participation from civic hackers, technology
companies, educators, entrepreneurs and others. The
website offers site visitors the ability to make a map from the data
in a single click. An Open in CARTO12 button is available on every
supported dataset, providing immediate access to open data for
citizens and companies everywhere. Simple, visual access to data is
needed in order to identify patterns over time and geography.

Philip Ashlock and Rebecca Williams, Open with Apps, Mar. 2015, Oct. 2015, Meta-the Data.Gov
blog,, <>
CARTO provides the platform necessary for intelligent
analysislocation based visualizations that are updated in real time.

Location is a universal language allowing anyone to participate, and

share place-based data. New sources of location intelligence like
geotagged social media have proven effective in tracking emerging
threats and providing critical information in emergencies and
natural disasters. As an extension of the citizen to citizen smart city
model, crowdsourcing through mobile geolocation technology helps
volunteers create effective crisis response networks that save lives13 .

CARTOs social connectors include direct access to Twitter data,

making analysis of user activity and location-based trends simple
and shareable.

CARTO is a leader in the evolution of smart cities development,

amplifying insights from data. CARTO is the only spatial analytics
platform to offer time-based visualizations with Torque.js. Our
powerful cloud based platform provides seamless integration and
management of city assets in one package. Users avoid time
consuming installations by hosting massive amounts of data in the
cloud. CARTO helps companies, agencies and governments keep
data secure and compliant with on-premises deployment.

CARTO brings together all the elements of a successful smart city

geo-ecosystem with unprecedented accessibility: crowdsourcing
with social media, monitoring of sensor networks, custom security
and deployment options. With daily updates to CARTOs SaaS
offerings, an investment in CARTO remains current with the pace of
technology, and the evolving processes of smart cities. Discover why
CARTO is a valued intelligent cities partner in urban zones around

Patrick Meier, How Crisis Mapping Saved Lives in Haiti, July 2012. Oct. 2015, National Geographic,
the world including New York City, Barcelona, London, Buenos Aires,
Mexico City, and Melbourne.


CARTO is a leader in location intelligence and data visualization,
equipping governments both local and federal to extract valuable
insights from location data. CARTOs data-driven maps enable visual
discovery of trends and patterns resulting in better, faster decisions.

Access the universal language of location to create interactive

visualizations in seconds without any coding, right from your
browser. Synchronize across platforms and devices in the field or at
the office. Share or publish them within your company, agency or
the for the public, making geospatial analysis an asset in your

Try a 14 day trial of the CARTO Pro Plan now, or talk to one of our
smart cities experts about a plan that meets your requirements:

For more information visit: