Home Articles Bogotá DC – A Smart City Indeed!

Bogotá DC – A Smart City Indeed!

Bogota’s IDECA has become a role model in the whole of Latin America in producing, managing and sharing geographic information for development projects.

A Screenshot of Maps of Bogota
A Screenshot of Maps of Bogota

Bogotá DC is among one of the 10 most competitive cities in Latin America, according to the local magazine Dinero. Major development projects implemented in the recent years have made the Colombian capital a pioneer in many areas of application of cutting-edge technology.

Bogotá DC was not immune to the changes wrought by the introduction of geotechnologies in public administration and business management. For these reasons, it became necessary to create effective mechanisms to permit timely availability of quality geospatial information to support the range of sectoral, local and regional projects that are deployed in and from the national capital district. The Infrastructure of Spatial Data for the Capital District (or IDECA) is responsible for promoting collaborative strategies to manage geographic information based on official policies and standards, using technological tools that enable information management and facilitate the development of institutional strategies for best practices related to the data lifecycle. IDECA is a government initiative of City Hall, which has been consolidated since 2004.

Headed by the Special Administrative Unit of the Cadastral Office, Bogotá has been developing several projects that focus on integrating all the official geographical information of the Capital District to position itself as a smart city. This involves making available data and services that respond to specific needs for decision-making about planning and development by administrative authorities and citizens alike.

IDECA has become a role model not only in the city of Bogota but also in the whole of Colombia and even entire Latin America in producing, managing and giving access to geographic information.

Geographic information services

Web services offered and managed in conjunction with the district community allow a better flow of information, ensuring the availability of reliable and timely data.

Tu Bogotá: Tu Bogotá is a new application that can identify, through an interactive map, variables to make decisions about housing or investment in the capital within a search radius of 0.5 to 2 km. It can also be shared on social networks.

The application gives the per-sq-km value of a land, location of nearby parks, tourism and entertainment destinations and rates user experience according to 13 variables taken from official city information. The tool also allows users to report the real estate offers and civic needs for different sectors of the city (health, education, culture, trade, tourism, social security, risk, mobility, environment, public space). In addition, users can upload a related image, a description of the need and a contact email.

Reference Map: As a main strategy to consolidate a single source of geo-referenced information on the city, the Reference Map provides an organised set of common spatial data required by most institutions of Bogotá. The Reference Map consists of 29 layers of information as open data and it is updated on a quarterly basis by each custodial institution and available to the community through the portal www.ideca.gov.co.

Bogotá’s Maps Portal: It is a new tool based on the information and communications technologies applied to the management of geographic information in the Capital District. The portal meets ‘spatialised information’ from various public institutions on issues of security, mobility and social services, which are some of the topics for daily and frequent consultation. This tool is intended for all types of users — ordinary citizens, enterprises, official agencies, private organisations, curators, notaries, town planners, investors, researchers, tourists etc — and is a clear example of ICT as a tool for good governance.

Registration System of Geographic items: A Web tool developed for the creation, approval, publication and maintenance of geographical items, its main objective is to allow concerted allocation of identifiers and unique meanings that contribute to the definition of a useful common language for the development of new information systems in the Capital District, thereby ensuring reliability and interoperability.

Additionally, this system plays an important role in controlling and monitoring the production of geographic information, by allowing the storage of descriptions of official information produced and identifying their respective custodian.

Management System of Geographic Metadata: One of the policies that led to the creation of IDECA is related to geographic metadata, which aims to document the geographic information of the Capital District through standardised and technically advanced metadata management processes to facilitate their availability, access, use and exchange.

This system is a Web application developed to allow different users to discover, access and use information and/or geographic services generated or obtained by IDECA members, such as documents, maps, images, studies, etc. Additionally, it allows the creation, validation, publication and maintenance of metadata. The main users of this system are entities and public sector institutions, private, academia and general citizens interested in accessing and using geographic data and services of Bogotá D.C.


A screenshot of the IDECA portal giving geodesic applications.

Achievements & challenges

IDECA has been behind the launch and execution of a number of major projects such as the Integral Road Network, Infrastructure of Network and Public Services or IRSP (constituted with a cadastre of networks of Bogota’s public services), setting up of the SDI in Cundinamarca (a major city in Columbia), and the establishing a geospatial platform for putting on cloud the data, services and applications related to Bogota.

The regulation and implementation of nine geographic information policies (production, metadata, custody, disposition, access and use, among others) in the district helps in legitimising the task of IDECA and facilitates the dialogue with authorities, companies and citizens, besides providing attention to their own concerns and initiatives. A very encouraging result of IDECA has been the consolidation of the district community on issues related to management of geographic information. Local administrative officials could now be made aware about the importance of access and use of geographic information in decision-making and community services.

Bogota, with its Infrastructure in place, is ready to take a giant leap further by relying on information, or more specifically geographic information, the key input in the planning and development of the city. The authorities must recognise the importance of involving and promoting collaborative work between its members as a mechanism to improve the quality and relevance of the services. Work is on the disciplinary research paradigm of SDIs, which is expected to contribute in the medium term for the construction of new knowledge that useful for the development of a smart city like Bogota, fast advancing on the information highway towards being called spatially enabled.