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Digital transparency in public spaces

How the city makes its sensors visible

Signalling for the sensors of the city of Zurich

Cities are collecting and evaluating more and more data. The technology that collects this data is ubiquitous. Sensors measure water quality, air quality or traffic frequencies. They collect data and transmit it to the responsible service departments, which evaluate it. Much of this data is published by the City of Zurich as "Open Government Data". This data helps to make the city better.

Because the role of data is becoming increasingly important for the city, open and transparent communication about the collection and use of this data is important. Residents must be able to understand how urban data collections work and what purpose they serve. The population's trust in the responsible handling of data is central to a smart city, especially as concerns about misuse and discrimination caused by new data collections are increasing.

The city of Zurich is therefore testing in a pilot project how it can make the collection of data in public space more visible. Specifically, this is done by clearly labeling sensors using pictograms. In addition, the latest available data from the respective sensors are processed on the website of the City of Zurich and made accessible on site via QR code. For this purpose, only data from existing sensors that are open and freely accessible as "open data" are used. All sensors labeled as part of this test are listed below on this page.

The code for this pilot is available as open source on Github .

Thanks: This project was largely inspired by a similar project in Toronto . Preparation and visualization of the open data of Cividi, graphic by Piera Wolf.

Feedback is welcome!

Do you have a question or feedback on the project "Digital Transparency in Public Space"? Then feel free to contact us via the contact form below or give us a call! We are very pleased about suggestions, ideas, criticism and praise to continuously improve this pilot project and increase transparency in the city of Zurich.

Contact person

Maximilian Stern, Projektleiter Smart City

Smart City Team der Stadt Zürich
Stadthausquai 17
CH-8001 Zürich
+41 412  17  14
Contact Form

more information