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What Are Smart Cities About?

Smart cities are an important next step in the pursuit of a healthier, happier, and safer population. They offer cleaner air, lower noise, better transport, and greener public spaces. Doesn’t that sound nice? But it doesn’t stop there. Modern technologies have uses that we often can’t envision until pieced together in innovative ways by very savvy people. To showcase just what smart city initiatives are working towards, let’s take a look at just one of the cities out there using powerful new technologies to develop new ways of looking at problems, and building data-driven, smart city solutions. Introducing: Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Sioux Falls is the most populous city in South Dakota, with an estimated 202,000 residents, built around the stunning waterfalls of the Big Sioux River that give the city its name. Sioux Falls is home base to a number of large financial companies, including Wells Fargo and Citibank, and is famous for its thriving contemporary arts scene. Their municipal government also holds an office known as the Division of Civil Analytics — an office dedicated to changing how city departments communicate and enhancing the city’s services to the population. Their biggest tool for this isn’t smart sensors or green energy. It’s 3D imaging. Here's how.

Through a combination of Nearmap, ArcGIS, GeoAI, and collaboration with the knowledge holders in other city departments, the Civil Analytics team has built a publicly available interactive 3D map of the entire city. Through collaborations with the Zoning department, they incorporated their Land Parcel Finder tool to show building and land usage zones. Through collaborating with engineers from Urban Planning, the map contains a detailed underground layer, showing all utilities like water and electrical, as well as access points and manholes. Through collaborating with the Fire Department, they added a tool to the map that can add a movable fire truck with adjustable ladders. This allows the first responders to effectively locate the right placements for their ladders before a crisis occurs, as well as train and educate new hires without disturbing locals.

With this smart and innovative new tool, Sioux Falls have catapulted themselves towards the top of the smart city field. And not just with public works! This 3D map lays the groundwork for a huge array of future developments — including, we hope, nuisance noise data mapping. Sioux Falls are a great example of what Smart Cities around the world are all about: innovation, collaboration, and quality of life. If you’re interested in hearing some more detail about their work, you can watch the full presentation from the 2022 ESRI Conference below.

NoiseNet provides smart city technology to governments around the world, helping them track and monitor nuisance noise for the purpose of improving residents’ quality of life, as well as streamlining the workloads of government employees. If that sounds like something your city needs, check us out at

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