How a Smart City Tackles Rainfall - Chicago SGIM
Chicago smart city - IOT infrastructure
2 years ago

IOT Sensors are developing as an increasingly-valuable tool for a variety of IOT applications. Presently, it is being utilized for the management and planning of smart cities in the world. As an example, in Chicago, smart city application initiative has been introduced which has enabled real-time collection of data on a broad range of environmental factors including air quality, noise, weather conditions and traffic.


It is interesting to know that, with the combination of IOT sensors and cloud computing, a fresh pilot project in Chicago acts as an innovative solution for tackling the urban problem of rainwater. This initiative has been launched by City Digital and works for the creation of a smart city project. The Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring (SGIM) project is developed with an aim to provide a tool for reducing urban flooding as well as to prevent millions of dollars getting wasted in property damage. This effort highlights a new way to address a past problem, and adds a new level of strategy, effectiveness and efficiency which was previously unavailable in the field of storm-water management. This has been enabled through smart city solutions employing IOT applications 


Merging IOT Sensors with Green Infrastructure

It was noted that, in 2014, around 800 million people globally lacked access to water. Chicago has developed as a smart city to tackle rainfall in a fairly systematic manner. Underneath Argyle Street, the efforts of City Digital and its partners are visible in the forms of installed water sensors and motion sensors for the collection of storm-water runoff data. What are the applications of these water sensors? They can record precipitation amounts, soil moisture measurements, humidity levels, chemical absorption rates and air pressure levels. The site acts as an experimentation ground for City Digital’s grand plan, which focuses to build a network of sensors in combination with an IOT platform targeted for advanced computing and analysis. This setup can serve as an efficient tool for water challenge management as well as water infrastructure planning for the upcoming years.


The pilot project began in August 2016. During this period the first sensors were placed at a bioswole located near UI Labs’ offices situated at Chicago’s Goose Island. Presently, three such locations are live, with the operation of SGIM sensors on Langley Avenue present on the city’s South Side. In 2017, the program will continue to expand with two fresh locations on the way.


As a combination, these five sites will permit the City Digital’s team merged with the City of Chicago, to analyze real-time and historical data and offer site-specific design recommendations for providing settings. Also, the SGIM design team, which comprises of University of Illinois-based startup Senformatics, the pilot would work to inform about the best interface design for the final stage.


Future Goals

Ultimately, the SGIM initiative is an important step for one of City Digital’s most crucial areas of work, which focuses on digitizing the water collection system. Since, green infrastructure systems have proven to be a positive development act for smart cities, but it still hasn’t been decoded what their overall impact is on urban watersheds. With SGIM, Chicago and City Digital wish to have a program which can enable monitoring of both gray and green infrastructure. The project serves as a stunning example of how different cities can successfully utilize IOT infrastructure to manage rainwater & well water systems and become a smart city.

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