The European Decumanus project led by Indra, one of the world's foremost consulting and technology firms, has completed development of a new generation of analytical services based fundamentally on satellite imagery, seeking to improve quality of life and mitigate the impact of climate change in city environments.
Public administrations, businesses and citizens will be able to harness advanced tools to access full information on energy efficiency, urban climate, air quality, the impact on health had by a number of variables, water quality indicators, land use and population fluctuations.
Among its many possibilities, the intelligence at the heart of the system is able to identify low energy efficiency buildings and calculate the costs and savings that rehabilitation of the same would incur; can detect areas with the worst air quality or those with the highest temperatures, as well as identifying the causes and evaluating solutions; can identify potential health problems associated with climate or air quality factors; can determine the services that each district has available and whether city districts have adequate connectivity; and can also monitor population fluctuations to evaluate whether infrastructure and services are suitable at all times.
The company's innovative approach to developing this tool combined Earth observation technology, satellite imagery, the Internet of Things, big data and data analytics. Data drawn from satellites and networks of sensors located all over a given city is combined with information from other sources, such as land registers, official statistics agencies and social networks.
Smart analysis of the full dataset provides insight into how environmental and quality of life indicators in each city district, street or building fluctuate. This level of detail can help administrations to comply with European directives and legislation on mitigating and adapting to climate change, helping them to design efficient policies. Furthermore, said data means simulations can be run to fully understand what impact a specific policy or measure will have. As a result, users can quantify impacts, provide information to citizens and raise awareness of the need to implement measures.
Depending on their location, global warming can cause cities to suffer increased storm frequency, rising sea levels, longer droughts, more intense heatwaves or sharply rising river levels in winter.
To mitigate such effects, cities need to drive down CO2 emissions, improve energy efficiency, monitor air quality and deploy policies that ensure sustainability and guarantee the welfare of their citizens.
Such improvements can have a major environmental impact, given that half of the world's population resides in cities, where much of global GDP and CO2 emissions are generated.
The tool combines the use of Earth observation technology, satellite imagery, the Internet of Things, big data and data analytics to offer 90 urban indicators on a range of variables
More than 90 different indicators
The services developed as a part of Decumanus are grouped into seven major categories, providing users with access to basic or advanced information depending on their requirements:
- Urban climate: providing information on precipitation, temperature, heatwaves, wind and thermal comfort, and much more.
- Air quality: monitoring levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen monoxide, ozone and particulate matter in suspension.
- Impact on public health: providing information on the potential health impacts of changes to climate and air quality indicators.
- Energy efficiency oversight: identifies buildings that lose heat, the areas that emit the most light or that consume the most energy. By cross-referencing this data with information on building specifications, the platform can determine causes, calculate the costs of rehabilitation, the savings these would secure, as well as the impact on urban and property regeneration.
- Land use: providing information on the distribution of buildings, green zones, tree location, etc.
- Impact on population: analyzes how events such as flooding and rising sea levels affect each city district.
- Water quality: providing information on surface temperature, the presence of hydrocarbons, turbidity, the quantity of organic material or bodies of water in urban environments.
The Decumanus project is financed by the EU's 7th Framework Program and involves 11 partners from 7 countries. Indra has spearheaded the work performed by the consortium, which involved the companies Eurosense, Geoville and Controlware, the Germany Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and University of the West of England, Bristol.
Leader in innovative technology
In this project Indra combines its expertise in Earth observation services, with its leadership in the development of big data and data analytics technology.
The company has a proprietary Data Processing Center that provides services to clients, including the European Space Agency. Indra was also behind the development of Sofia 2, an Internet of Things solutions featuring big data and cloud capabilities, which the company has deployed as part of a number of smart city projects. Indra's expertise and experience in a range of fields and technologies allows it to design unmatched innovative solutions.