Open Data

Walks in the City: Making Data Useful for Citizens

This week, we are publishing a series of blogs around how we can make data more useful for citizens. One of our Santander experimenters, Eurob Creative, kick off the week with a blog about how their project Walks in the City is helping make data accessible to senior citizens…

Nowadays, we are suffering from an excess of information. There is a great variety of data available and citizens have improved access to it. In addition, this trend is increasing due to the introduction of digital devices and sensors, which can collect real-time information about local transport, temperature, humidity, air conditions, and geolocation, among many other variables. This is also linked to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which refer to any device or system that is able to collect and exchange data in digital form.

There are numerous cities around the world, such as Santander, Aarhus and London, who are taking advantage of these technologies and this urban information in order to improve the quality of life of their citizens. These are also known as ‘smart cities’ and their goal is to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve the urban environment and the relationship between citizens and local authorities.

As part of the OrganiCity project, at Eurob Creative, we have the same vision for improving cities and empowering citizens by taking advantage of urban data and new technologies. More precisely, our experiment Walks in the City (WalkInCT) was conceived with the aim of keeping senior citizens healthy and socially active and making cities and neighbourhoods more lively by reconnecting citizens with their urban environment.

Working in collaboration with the seniors’ association ‘Eulalio Ferrer’ in Santander, we are accomplishing this objective using our mobile application ‘InCity Together’ and an activity wristband. Senior citizens are participating in the experiment and improving their physical activity and social life due to the data they are obtaining about their physical activity, walking routes in the city, places of interest, cultural events and other leisure activities.

Our service offers the following information and functionalities:

  • Vital signs monitoring: Seniors can keep a record of their blood pressure, sugar levels and weight and obtain data about their heart rate.
  • Physical activity tracking: InCT app displays the number of steps and kilometers walked, the calories consumed and the hours of sleep, allowing senior citizens to establish a goal and monitor their progress through time.
  • Data sharing: Senior citizens have the option to share their data with their doctor or other persons of trust.
  • City walks: InCT aims to foster physical activity using gamification techniques. Senior citizens are given the option to see suggested walking routes in their surroundings, create their own routes, see places of interest or tag their favorite ones – they then receive points for being active.
  • Leisure activities: InCT also includes information about the latest city cultural events.
  • Personalised offers: This functionality will be integrated in the near future, through which users will receive discounts and coupons from online stores or shops depending on their preferences, geolocation and even the environmental conditions obtained from smart city sensors.

Current design of ‘InCity Together’ application

In conclusion, we believe that smart city strategies will make a positive impact in our daily life by taking advantage of data from infrastructures and citizens and making it useful and applicable in different ways. But in order to make it happen, it is important to promote projects such as OrganiCity, in order to foster collaboration among citizens, local authorities, companies and technology providers.

Learn more about Walks in the City here and follow them on Twitter here.

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