Meet our 10 finalists
Dr. Diane Gutiw, BC Director of Analytics, leads the CGI Analytics Team in British Columbia. She works with an expert analytics team that includes Analytics Architect Thinh Mai, Data Scientist Brandon May, and Web Developer Trevor Schiavone.
How is your project "smart" and aligned to the themes of Smart South Island?
Our team has developed algorithms that allow municipalities to leverage existing data and BC Open Data Initiatives, regardless of any specific analytic technology, to drive more environmentally sustainable operations. Our idea is to make these algorithms, which focus on each of the 5 focus areas identified in the Smart South Island Project, available through a web framework to subscribing municipalities that will allow them to select one or more green city initiatives and map their own data to the algorithms for use locally or through the developed web solution.
How was the final concept determined?
The algorithms were conceptualized and then developed as part of analysis that was conducted on available municipal data. Our research investigated what data may be available locally and through open data initiatives in Western Canadian communities to better understand how the data could be used for analytics. The analysis suggested that while municipalities are collecting and reporting by department there was little cross department collaboration. The algorithms tested the assumption that if data is used across multiple departments (e.g. land development and transportation and recreation services) more meaningful decisions could be supported through evidence.
How does your concept name explain itself?
The Green City Analytics name was derived from the concept of leveraging analytics to make smart decisions related to Community and Environmental health such as reducing paper consumption in back office operations, optimizing transportation routes for population density, affordable housing and recreation services, or comparing landfill waste to recycling by community.
Where else in Canada or the world could you see your project being effective?
Our focus is to collaborate with municipalities across Canada and continuously improve and extend our solution along the way. The Green City initiative will be scalable for communities and municipalities of all sizes and supports both cities that have existing technology to run the algorithms in-house or smaller communities that may want to generate the graphs and data analyses as part of the web framework.
What was the biggest challenge in creating your concept?
The biggest challenge will be to develop a generic approach for local communities to map their existing data to the data requirements in the algorithms. The concept is to develop a matching screen to make the process simple for users but be scalable to accept multiple data types and data sources.
What has been the most enjoyable part of creating your concept?
The most enjoyable part of the process has been the ability to be creative. The team is usually focused on solving specific consulting problems for clients, but the ability to investigate potential data, develop and test algorithms using open data and creating data visualizations to represent the data in both graphical and geographic models has allowed the team to test cutting edge technology and approaches. The potential impact of the tested algorithms (up to $50,000 savings in a single year for reducing single sided and colour printing) has also helped drive the team to extend and expand the models and potential application of the solution.
If you could select any well-known person to endorse your project, who would it be and why?
David Suzuki as an avid Canadian environmental activist. It would be amazing to not only be endorsed by David but to collaborate with him on how cities can make positive environmental impacts.
If you could include any partner(s) within your concept who would they be and why?
We are hoping to partner with a municipality within the Capital Region district to develop a user-centric and insightful solution for the future. The team has a meeting with local governments of varying sizes, prior to the presentations, where potential partners for an initial proof of concept will be investigated. The hope would be that the solution is made available to each of the South Island municipalities to test once the solution has been developed.
What long-term impact do you envision about your project?
The potential solution is being developed as a generic model for use by any municipality or community organization regardless of the technologies or scope of data they have available. The intent will be to work with South Island and BC municipalities to help implement the initial solution to be able to drive and monitor their change initiatives. The intention is then to expand the models that are made available for additional green city initiatives based on the feedback of the proof of concept and market the solution to additional Canadian municipalities.
Why is Smart South Island important to our Region?
The South Island has identified a clear focus on moving towards a more environmentally sustainable and community minded operation, however, having evidence to base these decisions and monitor progress would be a benefit. By working with the local municipalities on driving these initiatives, and showing evidence of the cost, community and environmental benefits, the South Island can become a change leader. The Smart South Island can leverage the proposed Green City Analytics model to become a champion for change and can use the data-driven evidence to expand the Green City and Community focused models in other communities.