iCity Project, driving cities semantics to test

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The European Union is carrying out several Smart City Projects through calls related to Horizon 2020 program. Nevertheless, this concept started several years ago through past European Project call programs, one of them is iCity Project. Cities produce data in multiple formats from many sources, and they are opening this data to the community of talented developers. However, is still challenging and difficult to scale applications from one city to another in order to solve this handicap and save resources the iCity Project provides a platform that standardize data and allows those cities that are using its technology to share their data and apps.

In order to understand the importance of the iCity Platform and its features we have to go into detail about the SmartCity concept. It integrates a large number of platforms as a service to measure and improve the functioning of a city, we can take as examples of a service platform both traffic management using sensors that record real-time traffic density, such as intelligent energy management, which uses computer technology to optimize production and distribution of electricity. The possibilities are enormous, mobility management, energy, health, education, ecology, etc. and all this linked to the concept of open government announces new distribution channels this information to the citizens (creation of specialized websites with real-time data from sensors embedded in the city, mobile applications consulting, etc.). But future smart cities should not focus solely on the use of the latest technology; rather, they must find a way to be really smart. A smart city is one that uses technology to make a more accessible and more liveable city by expanding and improving services to citizens.

Due to the large amounts of data generated and shared, smart cities are increasingly based on evidence, and urban data collected are starting to influence policy decisions. Demand for digital public services continues to grow at a time when municipal budgets in turn are depleted. Cities and other public agencies are looking for a better interaction with the business communities and developers while ensuring that public services are responsible.

In order to attract and fully exploit the enormous potential offered by developers, cities must harmonize application-programming interfaces (APIs) that allow access to your data. Thus, a world of opportunities for the development of scalable smart applications and services can be implemented in multiple cities minimizing the costs of technical adoption.
The harmonization of the digital interfaces of cities opens up a world of possibilities for cooperation between them and for engaging with developers and citizens. To harmonize these digital interfaces is needed to work and standardize the semantics of each city. APIs grouped by thematic city, such as: mobility, citizen participation, tourism or environment are intended to be standardized defining the cities semantics.

In this sense, iCity Project has already made a step forward by connecting the Information Systems Citizens Suggestions and Complains through Open311 API to iCity Platform. GeoReporter is the application that is now tested with the data coming from the Information Systems of cities as Lamia, Zaragoza and Barcelona. The objective is to prove that through standardized data can be developed apps that work for different cities, thus avoiding the waste of mobile phone memory with the same type of application downloaded for each city.