Does open data create better services?

Artikkelikuva: Does open data create better services?

Together with Forum Virium, Helsinki metropolitan area’s open data service Helsinki Region Infoshare organised the HRI loves developers – Becoming a smart winter city through the Digital Twin of Mobility event on 26 January 2023.

The event included a remarkable public release of historical data on Helsinki’s winter maintenance, making it available for use. In the future, the open data on traffic, city infrastructure and conditions can save significant amounts of time, money and emissions.

The event took place at the start-up cluster Maria01. It featured interesting presentations on the potential of open data for urban planning and service development. The topical theme of the event was streamlining winter maintenance in Helsinki.

The historical data published at the event includes route and work phase data from the winter maintenance of the Helsinki City Construction Services, Stara, in East Helsinki from January 2021. The Aurat kartalla service has already published winter maintenance data on Stara’s snowploughs and drivers in the past. What is special about the new data release is that the historical data is directly derived from Stara’s vehicle telemetry data.

Digital twin to facilitate traffic forecasting

Under the leadership of Forum Virium Helsinki and Stara, a model for the mobility digital twin is currently being developed. The goal is to share city data with companies and the City of Helsinki to help them develop their operations and produce services. The data is not collected on individuals, but on vehicles, for example.

“The LiiDi2 project aims to identify data sources that are particularly important for mobility. When we combine data flows on transport, urban infrastructure and changing conditions such as weather, we gain ways to anticipate the effects of possible changes on the situational picture of traffic.” Said Helmi Tuori, the project manager who hosted the event.

The project manager of the LiiDi2 project, Helmi Tuori, hosted the successful ‘Becoming a smart winter city through the Digital Twin of Mobility’ event.

Helsinki is one of the leading cities in open data

The cooperation between Stara and Forum Virium in the Mobility Digital Twin as an Enabler of Services (LiiDi2) project is an important step towards more extensive utilisation of production data.

The objective of the City of Helsinki is that the data it produces will be the most useable and most widely used in the world by 2025. Helsinki is already one of the most open cities in the world in terms of data. The digital twin is gradually being built from data flows, one source of which is the data generated by production activities such as winter maintenance.

“The pilots of our project will enable us to verify the usefulness of the data generated by the City’s activities. Data users can test the suitability of the data for purposes such as developing new services. At the same time, feedback will be collected on what other data would complement the digital twin of mobility. This will support the construction of a more functional urban environment,” says Helmi Tuori on the benefits of open data.

Data-driven winter maintenance has the potential to become more agile and equal for residents. When Stara’s production data is combined with other mobility data, the impact of the measures on the daily lives of residents will be smoother. The key access ways can be examined and the optimisation of snow ploughing assessed on a more needs-oriented basison .

Tigran Khachatryan and Valeri Tsatsishvili from the CHAOS team.

Programmers’ solutions for winter maintenance

Stara’s project manager Toni Liikamaa spoke about the LiiDi2 project’s programming competition. In Digital Twins Hackathon the teams addressed, among other things, the challenge of winter maintenance in Helsinki. “Hackathon was an excellent learning experience not only for the startups, but also for the Stara experts who mentored the participants. We gained fresh perspectives on maintenance challenges,” Liikamaa stated. Forum Virium’s technical specialist Johan Lindqvist provided more information about Hackathon’s objectives, findings and published data.

The winner of the winter maintenance challenge was Winterpac. Participating in the event remotely, Winterpac presented its solution for bicycle path maintenance that allows optimisation of the routes of maintenance equipment. Minimising the kilometres driven would save not only time and money, but also emissions.

The CHAOS team also presented a solution they developed in the Hackathon. Their idea is to update the maintenance order of the lanes in real time according to conditions. The priority is calculated using a neural network that can be trained to take new data sources into account. This results in a regularly updated map that shows which lanes are currently being ploughed and which are in the most urgent need of maintenance.

New ways of use open data

At the end of the event, director of business development Moshe Gazit presented the product idea of his company Thinkz. The web application builds on open data in a new way. The map can make use of a wide range of data, allowing the user to see real-time information. The user can check how full buses are or which is the least congested route to work. What is special about Thinkz, compared to similar services? Instead of algorithmic recommendations, the user can choose the most convenient option for each situation based on the information provided.

Photos: Paula Kultanen and Helmi Tuori

Pictured in the main photo from left to right: Johan Lindqvist (Forum Virium), Valeri Tsatsishvili (CHAOS), Juho Antikainen (HRI), Tigran Khachatryan (CHAOS), Tanja Lahti (HRI), Moshe Gazit (Thinkz), Hami Kekkonen (HRI), Juho-Pekka Virtanen (Forum Virium), Toni Liikamaa (Stara), Suvi Vähä-Sipilä (Forum Virium), Helmi Tuori (Forum Virium) and Raimo Tengvall (Forum Virium). Winterpac’s Peiling Wu and Ivo de Geus participated in the event remotely.

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