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ESRI India: Making India's Smart City Vision Come Alive with GIS

Agendra Kumar, President

Agendra Kumar


A smart approach to city planning and management is essential to support the future urban expansion in a sustainable manner. Whether that’s reducing crime to improve public safety, 24x7 water and electricity, engaging the public about major health priorities, adopting forward thinking policies that attract businesses and create jobs, or providing relevant information to the community or developing more open space to improve civic pride, every city shares these similar aspirations and more.

Location is the common denominator that provides a context to all the city goals. Hence, a Geographic Information System(GIS)system, at the heart of the overall city enterprise architecture, is imperative rather than an option. It provides a single point of truth to all the stakeholders to stay informed, drive better decision making,and impact positive change in the community. GIS integrates all the related data (from people, business systems,UAVs,imagery, big data, and sensors etc.) and activities. It also provides the necessary foundation to better connect, observe, and analyze data anywhere, anytime, and through any device.

Esri is one of the very few global leaders in GIS. Esri software(ArcGIS) is used by more than 350,000 organizations, including 75 percent of the Fortune 500, most national governments, 20,000 cities, 50 states, and more than 7,000 universities. In India, as well as globally, Esri is working with cities in helping them realize their smart city goals with GIS at their heart. For instance, citizen engagement is one of the key priorities for the city of Bhopal. Bhopal Smart City has launched a GIS based citizen engagement portal, which provides visibility to the citizens on the various initiatives of city administrators and involves them in the city administration processes. The GIS portal is now being extended to include other departmental stakeholders such as water supply, sewerage, transportation, electric, health, and education etc.

At the core of any city are its essential infrastructure components such as utility network (electric, water and gas), transportation network and security. Esri's GIS technology powers various programs driven by government bodies, ULBs and utilities in areas such as land management, and infrastructure development. The organization has worked with the State of Rajasthan to build an integrated GIS system, Rajdhara, to provide a robust information and decision support system for planning and implementing various state developmental programs. This initiative also empowers citizens, thus ensuring seamless interoperability and cooperation between various departments.

Esri is working with cities in helping them realize their smart city goals with GIS at their heart

Esri ArcGIS - A Complete Platform for Smart Cities
Every city may be different, but they all share common operational traits. Each rely on realtime insights for evidence based decision making, more effective collaboration, and public engagement. ArcGIS is a complete platform for a smart city, supporting all the city processes right from planning to management. It enables new ways of working for a diverse and mobile workforce, and new ways to engage with the public. It embodies following characteristics:

Spatial Analytics- ArcGIS's comprehensive Spatial Analytics capabilities can help answer key foundational questions Which areas should need re development focus first? Does the development plan meet environment and legal regulations?

Mapping and Visualization- ArcGIS enables creating, using, and sharing of maps on any device. Maps help in spotting spatial patterns in data for better decisions and action such as traffic patterns and weather patterns. Maps also break down barriers and facilitate collaboration.

3D GIS-3D GIS brings realworld context to maps and data.It enables 3D modelling which helps in urban planning, architecture and design;3D capabilities can produce a 'real life' depiction of how a city would look before and after urban developments, such as light rail infrastructure or higher residential buildings. It can also

show the impacts of these developments on a range of areas including carbon footprints and water usage.

Realtime GIS- Use of technologies like IoT sensors enables city stakeholders to feel the pulse of city functioning at any instant. Realtime GIS empowers city stake holders with location monitoring of any type of sensor or device accelerating response times,optimizing safety, and improving operational awareness across all assets and activities, whether in motion or at rest.

Imagery and Remote Sensing- ArcGIS enables complete management, processing, analysis, and sharing of imagery. It also provides access to the world's largest imagery collection, including tools like satellite, aerial, drone and full motion video.

Data Collection and Management- With ArcGIS, city stake holders can easily collect, crowd source, store, access, and share data efficiently and securely. They can integrate data stored in business systems and geoenable any data from any source database, BI/CRM systems, big data sources, Drones/UAVs.

Enabling the Smart City Ecosystem
Smart city is a complex ecosystem made up of many stakeholders including citizens, city authorities, local companies and industry and community groups. This cannot be achieved without an effective collaboration and synergy between governments, public and private industry.

Esri India, over the years has built a very strong ecosystem of partners, like ISVs, GIS service providers and system integrators. Esri’s various startup initiatives promote innovation in smart city arena. Esri India has collaborated with the Department of Science and Technology and rolled out a program for startups. This is GIS industry’s first of its kind Public Private Partnership (PPP)initiative in India with an objective to support start-ups building new businesses based on GIS technology.

The organization, with its training facilities, also supports national start-up initiatives through an exclusive skill-building program. Esri India is working very closely with the institutes of higher education in creating, refining and delivering GIS curriculum through its Centre of Geospatial Excellence(COGE)program.

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