The LOEWE research center emergenCITY, which consists of an interdisciplinary team of scientists from computer science, engineering, law and history, is launching the cross-sectional mission Knowledge Base. The aim is to develop a platform that, on the one hand, brings together a wide variety of digital information from all areas of a city via a variety of sensors and, on the other hand, makes it available in a clear and meaningful way with existing information. This includes, for example, data from water, energy and communication networks. A large amount of data can be stored, processed, shared and retrieved via this platform, from historical information to real-time data. The aim is to facilitate the gathering and exchange of information from different areas of the city and to make it clear and targeted.
Information can become a key aspect in a crisis – especially in an eventful urban context. Immense amounts of data on digital cities and past crises have long been available, and more information is being collected every day, which can also provide new perspectives for preventive approaches and acute strategies in critical situations to come. However, the increased volume of information in such crisis situations quickly becomes confusing and must therefore be tailored to the needs of the users - e.g. first aiders - without being overwhelming in order to make efficient help possible. It is therefore not only necessary to provide collected data, but also to process it in an interpretable way, while at the same time protecting the privacy of the city dwellers.
Of course, one of the basic requirements for such a project is that the knowledge base itself is designed to be resilient as a platform and that its functionality can be maintained even in the event of a crisis with limited technical resources. Its architecture is therefore decentralized and robust. The research mission is currently working on developing a working example of such a knowledge base using existing platforms and testing it in application examples. The data acquisition via multiple sensors in the city, such as from intelligent light poles, as well as the connection of mobile agents such as robots - especially in crisis and disaster scenarios - is part of the research work.
In addition to the technical challenges, the researchers also take into account spatial and social issues in order not to carry out a purely technology-led conception of the city. Rather, the dynamic needs of the diverse urban population are at the center of interest in the conception of the platform.