Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GEO-C (Joint Doctorate in Geoinformatics - Enabling Open Cities)
Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31
• that enable transparent participation on equal footing for all citizens,
• that facilitate data analysis to determine the quality of life for individuals and cities, and
• that deliver useful services for smart cities based on the principle of openness.
Three research institutions with a proven track record of complementary research areas in Geoinformatics worked together with city councils and companies from three European countries: The academic partners consisted of the University of Münster (WWU), Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi), Germany, the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS), Portugal and the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Institute for New Imaging Technologies (iNIT), Spain. They were joined by three city councils (Münster, Lisbon, Castellón) and six local companies (Hansa Luftbild, 52 North GmbH, ESRI Portugal, SAS Portugal, Urbiotica S.L. Prodevelop S.L.). Together all partners engaged with different stakeholders, shaped the underlying research and supported fifteen early-stage researchers (ESRs) in their research and career development.
A key milestone at the beginning of the project was the timely recruitment of excellent early-stage researchers (ESR). We received 195 applications for 15 PhD topics. The quality of the work done and the outputs as well as the very high successful completion rate within the three year time limit confirmed that the selected ESRs were well-suited to carry out the project.
All ESRs received extensive and targeted training while employed by the project. This included a 30 CP course program, a one-month internship with an associated partner (city council or company) and an external semester at one of the partner universities. GEO-C organised several training events such as an orientation camp, an interdisciplinary block course by the 13 supervisors, a doctoral retreat, a workshop on the open city toolkit, and an ongoing monthly virtual seminar across the three sites. All ESRs benefitted from multiple supervisors (one from each university partner), support by post-doctoral researchers and access to excellent research infrastructures.
All key research outputs were not only published in high-profile academic journals and conferences but the underlying data, software and ideas were made openly available as well. For this purpose, the project developed the Open City Toolkit (http://geo-c.eu/opencitytoolkit) – an open source platform that incorporates the key outputs and insights from all ESRs and makes them opening available. In addition, key results have also been published on Github (https://github.com/geo-c) and Zenodo (https://zenodo.org/communities/geoc). Furthermore, representatives from GEO-C organised and participated in many local and international events for further dissemination.
The OCT also includes the key results obtained by the ESRs who tackled different topics in the smart city context. These topics include, for example, participation across all ages and groups of society, how to deal with location privacy, the assessment of the quality of life, and fundamental urban services. The focus on openness and the OCT provides substantial opportunities to create new services for smart and open cities that have the potential to permeate other socio-economic, environmental and cultural aspects (see fig. 2: Overview on GEO-C innovations).
On a scientific level, GEO-C has advanced the state of the art in various areas related to smart and open cities, which has resulted in more than 65 publications in reputable academic outlets. In the past, smart cities have been investigated from different perspectives but a strong emphasis has been on the technology, answering questions such as how to sense data, how to cope with large amounts of the data and how to model various urban functions. Unlike research on open governance, the questions of transparency and openness at all levels and participation by all citizens has attracted considerably less attention in smart cities research. GEO-C has gone beyond previous research by bringing this issue to the centre of attention. Similarly, while citizen science, open data and open access have been looked at by various projects, GEO-C has innovated by investigating how the openness principle can be successfully applied to ensure that all citizens benefit from and participate in smart cities on all levels.
Overall, GEO-C has thus laid the scientific and practical foundations to investigate and create open cities that enable all citizens to participate in and benefit from smart cities.