Digital City Platform
The City of Gold Coast employs over 3,000 staff and is the second largest local government in Australia, administering an area from the Albert River to the border of Queensland and New South Wales. A key outcome in the Gold Coast 2020 plan is to establish Council as “an active digital city”. City of Gold Coast engaged Idea 11 to build their Digital City platform. The Digital City platform is a foundational element on which to deliver City-wide digital services.
The City of Gold Coast (City) employs over 3,000 staff and is the second largest local government in Australia, administering an area from the Albert River to the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Council has a vision for the city – “Inspired by lifestyle. Driven by opportunity”. This vision guides Council’s strategy and is the foundation of the Gold Coast 2020 plan.
A key outcome in the Gold Coast 2020 plan is to establish Council as “an active digital city”. This outcome is driven in part by changes in Council’s operating environment – as well as in response to new technologies that enable existing challenges to be solved and new things to be made possible. A Digital City Program was established, with the key drivers behind the program being:
- Increasing demand for goods and services, with a diminishing resource base to deliver;
- Increasing demands/requirement for real-time, personally-tailored goods and services;
- Data is very valuable, as long as it is used; and
- Technology is an enabler.
The Gold Coast 2020 plan has also set itself a digital target of having 1,000 “open data sets” available to the community by 2020. The Digital City platform is a foundational element on which to deliver City-wide digital services.
City of Gold Coast engaged Idea 11 to uplift the prototype Digital City platform into an extensible, future-ready Digital City platform capable of meeting the needs of today and expanding to meet the needs of tomorrow.
The starting point was the prototype platform that had proven the viability of the Digital City. Idea 11’s initial brief was to productionise the new Digital City Platform in AWS – building a cloud-scale digital platform – and implement a DevOps framework and agile culture to allow continual innovation in the Digital City space. The prototype was rearchitected to be cloud-native – introducing AWS services such as Lambda, S3 and Athena – in order to deliver a scalable, maintainable Digital City platform. As an additional benefit: the production platform also has significantly lower running costs than the prototype.
Idea 11 then worked with the City to productionise the first two digital city initiatives: Flood Emergency Decision Support System (FEDSS) and Parking Technology Intelligence.
City of Gold Coast, like much of South East Queensland, experiences extreme weather events. When it rains heavily and floods, it’s important to determine how much water there will be and where that water will be to ensure that the right actions are taken in an in emergency – and that those actions are taken rapidly. City of Gold Coast’s Natural Hazards department created FEDSS, a computational simulation of rainfall and water flow models to measure the impact of flooding on the City in response to rain events. Running a full simulation is a computationally intensive process, previously taking around eight hours. Idea 11 took FEDSS and built a scale-out GPU-based computational engine in AWS, with the capability to run a full simulation in three hours, by analysing rainfall catchments in parallel – dramatically shortening the time to critical information in an emergency. The Digital City FEDSS platform is fully automated, running every day with new rainfall data from the Bureau of Meteorology. It’s also robust, running in AWS in a highly available configuration.
Managing efficient use of parking resources is an intensive task for City of Gold Coast. With a city that experiences peak holiday and seasonal visitation, it’s important to determine where the in-demand and quiet spots for parking are. This can be particularly challenging: coordinating City staff to collect money from empty parking meters is not efficient. To solve this challenge, Idea 11 built a data lake in AWS that ingests parking meter data in real-time from the City’s smart parking meters, allowing accurate parking data and analysis – to allow the City to make better decisions, such as sending staff only to full meters.
Idea 11 built City of Gold Coast’s Digital City platform to be extensible, with a development and technology framework to be used as a blueprint for delivering cloud-based projects. The DevOps framework and agile culture allows for fast iteration of new Digital City initiatives, the next series of which are already underway.
Idea 11 provides ongoing operational management of the platform via its in-house TechOps team, with best-in-class 24x7x365 monitoring and technical operations.
From the Customer
The City’s Digital City Platform is one of the critical investments in achieving our target of being an active digital city." said Ian Hatton, Chief Innovation & Economy Officer at City of Gold Coast. "With extensive development by Idea 11, underpinned by AWS, the platform is already supporting solutions such as the enhanced Flood Emergency Decision Support System and Parking Technologies solution, which will provide tangible benefits for citizens of and visitors to the Gold Coast. The City has an ambitious pipeline of Internet of Things and other Digital City projects that utilise the Platform to improve the customer experience and generate service enhancements, and we look forward to working with AWS and Idea 11 in their continued development."
- Extensible, scalable, future-ready, cloud-hosted Digital City Platform;
- Capable of delivering business use cases such as the Parking Technology and Flood Emergency Decision Support System solutions;
- Use cases deliver a range of benefits including increased productivity, smarter decision making, improving forward-planning, reducing costs and more;
- DevOps model including tools, processes and knowledge enabling ongoing expansion.
- Data Lake
- AWS Serverless Application Model
- AWS Kinesis
- AWS Lambda