Flemish Cities join forces on real-time open data.
On January 1, 2017 Flemish Minister for Internal Affairs Liesbeth Homans kicked off the “Smart Flanders-program”, a 3-year research program executed by imec researchers. The Flemish government supports the 13 leading Flemish cities and the Flemish community in Brussels in their transition to becoming smart cities. Smart Flanders realizes this through its focus on real-time open data and shared reference models and by stimulating collaborations between cities and between stakeholders in the quadruple helix.
Imec researchers support the Flemish cities with their expertise on (linked) open data. Experts with backgrounds in business modeling, political sciences, public administration and computer sciences strive in multidisciplinary teams for the publication of more open data in Flanders. For imec, open data is one of the important cornerstones in the transition towards smart cities.
The open data charter was approved and enforced by the 13 leading cities in Flanders in the summer of 2018. The charter stipulates 20 principles aimed at disclosing data in an ethical and sustainable way, focused on transparency and maximizing potential reuse by third parties. Data are at the foundation of innovative Smart-City solutions and a fundamental requirement for each new app or service one can imagine in an urban environment. Once open for citizens, SMEs, intermediaries and other interested stakeholders, these data allow to maximize the potential of arriving to valuable implementations and applications. Meanwhile, the Flemish government has also adopted these principles.
In 2017, imec presented a proof-of-concept that gives real-time insight in the number of available public parking spots in four Flemish cities. Around 30% of all traffic in a city is caused by people looking for a parking spot. If drivers could be better informed about indoor and off-street public parking places, this traffic could be directed to an available spot more efficiently. Such information could be delivered to them though various channels: road signs, radio or other interfaces in the car, navigation- or dedicated parking apps etc. Supplying all these interfaces with real-time qualitative data is a true open-data challenge. Our proof-of-concept could bring an answer to this challenge. In the future, imec will – in the context of Smart Flanders - also develop proof-of-concepts in other domains, for example on open data about accessibility and crowdedness.
The Smart Flanders website (in Dutch) gives more details about the 3-year program and the pilot projects. Also, it has a page with the open data charter and a technical section for developers.