CityPulse, a new framework designed to make cities and urban spaces easier to navigate by serving up real-time, tailored and relevant updates to pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and commuters on public transport, has been developed in part by Dr. Alessandra Mileo, Assistant Professor in the DCU School of Computing and a Funded Investigator at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, an SFI Research Centre.

An analysis of CityPulse, ‘Observing the Pulse of a City: A Smart City Framework for Real-time Discovery, Federation, and Aggregation of Data Streams’, has been published in the Internet of Things Journal. CityPulse is an EU-funded project as part of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework.

CityPulse can help with everything from finding a parking space close to your destination, directing cyclists or pedestrians along the route with best air quality and the least CO2, to dynamically scheduling buses based on user demand and directing tourists to particular points of interest. All reactive and all in real time.

The key to CityPulse is how it parses huge amounts of data, taking it from various sources (live weather, real-time bus and train information plus social networks like Twitter – data coming directly from people) and processing it in real time to enable the end-user to make better-informed decisions. It also weights the data, determining which is the most reliable.

Currently being trialed in Aarhus in Denmark, Stockholm in Sweden and Bra?ov in Romania, CityPulse is completely open source and free for developers to connect data sets to the framework and then build applications for iOS, Android or the web on top of it. To date, 101 Smart City use cases have been designed and are development-ready.

Live uses of CityPulse currently include:

Travel Planner: an Android application for citizens, which can be used for obtaining user centric travel and parking recommendations.

Social Media Analyser: the users can visualise events extracted from social media streams (Twitter)

Quality of Information (QoI) Explorer: a web-based tool to get detailed insight about the quality of information that the deployed sensors provide.

Bus Travel Planner: an Android application for citizens, that can be used for obtaining user-centric bus travel recommendations.

CityPulse Tourism Planner: provides citizens relevant information of tourism-related points of interest and optimal routes according to the user’s location, transportation information and users’ preferences.

CityPulse Pick-up Planner: provides optimal planning and routing for a fleet management company.

CityPulse Dynamic Bus Scheduler: provides optimal bus transportation schedule based on user demands and real-time traffic in the city.

Explaining the process behind CityPulse, Dr. Alessandra Mileo said:
“Modern cities are hugely complicated systems and we now have access to huge amounts of data. The challenge with CityPulse was to take all of this low-level data, process it in real time and use it to answer questions. It was a massive undertaking to find, correlate and discover all of the relevant information and filter, package and deliver it to people on their phones and smart devices. All information is context dependent and needs to be timely. The time decay on so much of it is high.”

Some key findings of the project include:
Processes massive amounts of data from multiple and varying sources

Weights this data, continuously determining which is of greatest importance and of better quality at any given time

Delivers relevant, reactive updates and answers questions in real time

Currently live in three European cities [Aarhus, Stockholm and Bra?ov]

101 use cases designed

Open source

The international research team includes:

?efki Kolozali – University of Surrey and King’s College London

Maria Bermudez-Edo – University of Surrey and University of Granada

Nazli Faraji Davar – University of Surrey and University of Oxford

Payam Barnaghi – University of Surrey

Feng Gao – Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway

Muhammad Intizar Ali – Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway

Alessandra Mileo – Insight Centre for Data Analytics, DCU

Marten Fischer – University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück

Thorben Iggena – University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück

Daniel Kuemper – University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück

Ralf Tonjes – University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück

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