Article by: Luca Ferretti, February 10, 2019
Originally published on: https://www.codemotion.com/magazine/snap4city-dashboards-overlook-your-city-3032
As we know from the article on sentient cities, Snap4City is an open-source, standard-based, data-driven, service-oriented and user-centric platform, enabling large-scale co-creation of applications and IoT/IoE services. As the name suggests, it allows you to create solutions for smart cities in a snap, but it’s also an acronym of “scalable Smart aNalytic APplication builder for sentient Cities”.
One of the most powerful tools provided by Snap4City is the ability to set up and provide effective dashboards for end-users. Dashboards are suitable for decision makers, city majors, assessors and city operators, both on desktop and mobiles, as well as suitable for massive access as informative totems or displays at railways stations, bus stops – in fact, everywhere in the city.
Img.1: Major of Florence showing Main Dashboard of Florence Control Room
The Dashboard Builder
Snap4City Dashboard Builder allows us to show data by compositing and exploiting a large set of available widgets and data sources, such as:
- charts, tables, time trends, histograms,, interaction elements, lists, selector, heat
- maps, and more maps as ServiceMap/ServiceMap3D, OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, with more features and data drill down to historical database and relationships among entities in the city
- external services: traffic flow reconstruction, bus tracking, Twitter Vigilance, other ServiceMaps for other cities, WiFi tracking and status, etc.
- MicroApplications: search of POI, routing, search of public transport, parking forecast, pollution, pollination, first aid, etc.
Each dashboard can be connected to other connected dashboards, allowing us to effectively analyse and drill down all relevant info needed by end-users.
Several existing dashboards with real data from Florence and Tuscany are publicly available at snap4city.org website. Those dashboards allows you to visualise, for example, info about first aid, energy dash, traffic alerts and events status, and much more.
Img.2: Tuscany First Aid overview dashboard
Features for End-Users
Amongst the many features of Snap4City dashboard, we can highlight the following ones, which enable some specific and relevant tasks.
Real-Time Tracking – suitable for fleets and vehicles, as well as to track people and operators (according to consent), real-time object tracking can be used for a large set of data analytics. Smart algorithms on devices for location acquisition based on GPS, cells and wi-fi networks are provided and you can filter those data by accuracy, measurement, time, space or velocity.
Img.3: User behaviour analysis with real time tracking
Chatroom and notification – Dashboard creators can activate chat rooms and invite people on the platform to exchange comments and pictures. Chat rooms are accessible only under authentication, on web and mobile, and administrators can access logs for review. Notification may arrive through Facebook, Telegram, SMS, email… by exploiting IoT App behind the dashboard. Integrations with workflow management system for ticketing is available too.
Management, Sharing, Delegation – each single dashboard can be viewed/accessed by one or more specific people, as well as cloned to derive a new dashboard from a former one and perform versioning. Dashboard management can be delegated and access can be granted or not to different types of users.
Develop and Interoperability
Snap4City dashboards and, more generally, applications are designed to interact with IoT applications and devices, both to gather data from IoT and to enforce data-driven intelligence into IoT. Communications between IoT/IoE devices and dashboards involve typical patterns: Discovery, Telemetry, Inquires, Commands and Notification.
A rich set of capabilities are provided to people working on building and/or interfacing with Snap4City dashboard system.
Intelligence – Interoperability with different sources is crucial. Snap4City provides interaction with IoT devices through the Node-RED programming tool. Node-RED simplifies the development of complex interactions between devices and dashboards.
Img.4: Dashboard intelligence and interaction with IoT App
Protocols – It is compliant with any major standard and protocol, such as AMQP, COAP, MQTT, OneM2M, HTTP, HTTPS, Rest Call, SMTP, TCP, UDP, NGSI, LoraWan, SigFOX, SOAP, WSDL, Twitter, FaceBook, Telegram, SMS, OLAP, MySQL, Mongo, HBASE, SOLR, SPARQL, EMAIL, FTP, FTPS, WebSocket, WebSocket Secure, ModBUS, WFS, WMS, ODBC, JDBC, Phoenix,, WFS, Android, Raspberry, etc.
Formats – Snap4City is able to ingest and work with any format, from data exchange (JSON, XML, GeoJSON, HTML, DATEX, GTFS, binary, etc) to spreadsheets (CSV, XLSX, XSL, etc), from images to videos.
Data Types – Each type of data that Snap4City can ingest can be showed on specifically tailored widgets. Complex events such as traffic events or entertainment events can be showed on generic or specific pre-existing widgets, or can be managed by custom HTML5 MicroApplications. Sensors and actuators widgets are available too, allowing a dashboard to collect data from and to manage IoT devices.
Img.5: Communication patterns with IoT/IoE
Snap4City platforms and solutions are available at Snap4city.org website, where you can register and start exploring its features. But if you want to really challenge your skills and propose your innovative solutions for connected cities, you can join the upcoming Snap4City Hack, the big online hackathon on the topics of Smart City and IoT.
Snap4City launched a big online Hackathon on Ecological Watch, Social and Service Evolution, Stimulating Business Growth, City Aware.
Using Snap4City tools to manage IoT, Big Data and analytics, the hackathon challenges will cover different themes – Ecological Watch, Social and Service Evolution, Stimulating Business Growth, City Aware – and real data from cities such as Helsinki or Antwerp.
Further information on the Hackathon is available on the on Snap4City.org/hackathon website.