Smart City, the intelligent city, has been one of the most fashion concepts in recent years dealing mainly with the use of ICT, information and communication technology, to improve citizens living standards. Technology is not assumed as result itself but as a tool to modernize and optimize city management; in the 21st century technology has been playing, and have to play, a key role in improving public policies. Cities are abandoning the analogic world and, in order to be intelligent, they have to exploit technology.
Let’s try to imagine that public servants, in their decision making activities, choose proprietary software as support for modernization purposes; suppose that they entrust one single supplier for all the technological sectors of our cities, the heart of cities information systems. Although this decision may seem illogical, without any strategic overview, got round such a fundamental topic as technological sovereignty and fill cities management headquarters with black boxes, without leaving any access to informatics components understanding.
Would it be possible to have smart cities or cities would be technologically captives?
The overwhelming logic of the answer is even scarier when we look at its occurring frequency. An important part of municipal budgets is related to these malpractices. Decisions that constrain the future of cities under a broad economic perspective, without forgetting that the economy has also social and knowledge components.
We strengthen the idea that, in the 21st century, cities will be sovereign only if they are technologically independent.
If we add the internal management perspective of the organization to external one, benefits of using free software are immediately added: possibilities of collaboration with other institutions increase and the exorbitant cost to purchase licenses can be shifted to services investment. Services that can be addressed to a local, national company, promoted by administrations. Business network that will require more and better qualified technicians from Universities that will no longer train for brands to shift into training in technology. A synergistic network that perfectly fits the required change in production model.
Making the prospective wider, the answer is even stronger: smart cities are not possible without open source software.
What is the role of geomatics technologies for Smart City land management?
They are the cornerstone; more than 80% of the information handled by a municipality are geographically located: infrastructures, artistic heritage, parks and gardens, socio-economic components, investment … everything is or can be spatially represented.
Spatial Data Infrastructures, therefore, constitute a backbone connecting everything is a Smart City.
Spatial Data Infrastructures 100% open source, as the ones suggested, offered and defended by gvSIG Association.