With an increasing number of cities worldwide adopting Esri’s ArcGIS Hub, the concept is expected to usher in a new wave of Smart Cities in Asia.
Today, cities account for more than 50% of the world’s population and produce 80% of global Gross Domestic Product. By 2045, this figure is expected to grow by a further 1.5 times.
According to Brett Dixon, General Manager, Esri Asia Pacific, a growth pattern like this clearly indicates that the future sustainability of our communities depends on smarter governed cities.
“Cities will always be changing; whether in terms of the population, the economic viability, or the state of public infrastructure. Decisions which might have made sense ten years ago can quickly be overturned by the constantly changing trends and events,” Dixon said during a high-level forum at GeoSmart Asia 2017.
So how can we better anticipate changes in circumstances?
The answer lies in maximising access to all available information to improve the quality of the decisions made, according to Dixon. This is where ArcGIS Hub comes into play —integrating, visualizing and analyzing real time data from sensors to help city managers optimise resource investments and develop tailored programs and policies.
The City of Los Angeles’ GeoHub, for example, gives city staff, businesses, app developers, non-profit organizations and the public access to the city’s location-based data through an online portal.
By compiling the city’s disparate datasets into a single location and offering access as a service, Los Angeles is breaking down the barriers that cause inefficiency while working towards becoming a smarter, safer city. With data available by way of intuitive apps, residents can play a greater role in shaping their government. And by providing opportunities for start-ups, the city can continue to ride its wave of high-tech innovation.
“Innovation doesn’t occur in isolation,” Dixon said. “Which is why with ArcGIS Hub, cities are able to break down silos and create meaningful collaboration across a wide network of stakeholders thereby allowing them to add value to each other’s work.”
Closer to home, the Penang GIS Centre launched a similar application called e-Peta which has empowered local city departments and socio-civic organizations to create smarter ways to address issues and challenges in the community.
The application supports government projects and the day-to-day operations of agencies, such as the Town Planning & Development Department, Penang Island City Council and Seberang Perai Municipal Council.
It also supports the operations of various non-profit organizations including George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), the Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC), among others.
In particular, e-Peta has helped decision-makers at alms collection organization, Pusat Urus Zakat, to locate Muslim households and analyze their corresponding demographic data in order to determine their needs and identify who should give and receive alms.
“These are just among the many cities across the world that have adopted this framework — and with the conversations we’re having at GeoSmart Asia 2017, we are confident that many others in the region will follow suit,” Dixon said.