Regional Data Sharing Group
Multiple smart and connected communities are creating shared data standards that will improve municipal operations, drive economic growth, and improve the quality of life for citizens. In order to facilitate this, public and private partners are working together to create data sharing guidelines, common data sets, and recommendations for responsible use of this data. The data sharing effort began when the RIoT accelerator convened several public and private partners for a pilot project that used Internet of Things (IoT) technology to collect and share regional stormwater data. As the group expands regional data sharing efforts for additional use cases (the name for the general project theme of the data being pulled), Triangle J has assumed the position as the convener and administrator and will share future data as part of a new regional data center housed at TJCOG.
Importance of Data Sharing and the Meaning of "Region"
Multiple interconnected systems increasingly cross municipal boundaries and create a need for more widespread regional data sharing. Regional data sharing allows for communities to track information that may range from flood levels to greenway usage in real time and develop the capability to quickly share this information with other communities that have a collective interest in the same issue. Along with shareable real-time information, a future record of detailed time-specific regional data tracking will help municipalities more holistically refine predictive models and make more accurate projections. Because these interconnected systems often have no set boundary, they frequently extend outside of the Triangle J Region's immediate jurisdiction and redefine the concept of "region."
Objectives and Desired Business Outcomes
- Create standards for shareable data sets, schema, and ownership and security
- Define vendor agnostic architecture guidelines - identify common smart and connected community technologies that can be used by each agency for data collection, transmission, visualization, storage, analysis, prediction, work order management, security, and internal/external sharing.
- Share data - data is in a shareable format, but each municipality will control what data is shared
Desired User Outcomes
- Improve regional situational awareness
- Reduce health risks; improve safety and mobility
- Respond proactively, reducing the amount of time required to respond to health and safety risks
- Make data-driven mitigation and infrastructure decisions
- Improve prediction capability
- Benefit from shared resources and a coordinated approach
- Eliminate redundancy; regional approach allows agencies to utilize others’ data if their data is not available
- Correlate data between utilization and mapping
- Obtain grant funding
Regional Stormwater Pilot
The Regional Data Sharing Group implemented its first use case that monitors stormwater and flood monitoring through localized sensors. Because water does not just flow within municipal boundaries, partners have a collective interest in improved flood monitoring for the well-being of the greater region. High water levels and the potential for a flood event typically start on higher ground in Cary before the water flows downstream to Raleigh, for example. Conversely, the City of Wilson sits within a "bowl" and often feels the effects of stormwater from the adjacent Triangle J Region. Thus, it was imperative at an early stage for multiple communities to have the capability to monitor this type of data in real time.
Prior to the regional stormwater pilot, communities had to rely on 311 calls or first responder observations in the case of high stormwater levels or a flood event. Low-cost stormwater sensors developed by Green Stream Technologies, previously a participant in the RIoT accelerator, have made it possible for the participant communities to collect real-time stormwater and flooding data. Green Stream initially sold the sensors to each municipality, which then paid a nominal subscription fee for their continued use. Due to the sensors' relatively low cost and manageable scale, smaller communities have been able to participate in regional stormwater data sharing as well. At the municipal level, communities have taken proactive steps that include altering traffic lights in affected areas and entering flood alerts into the Waze app. While the stormwater pilot has allowed each community to collect and process data independently of any specific vendor, participants have agreed to make data shareable between each other as well as through North Carolina Emergency Management's FIMAN site. Recently, the stormwater pilot won an IDC Smart Cities North America Award in the Smart Water category.
List of Current Municipal Partners
City of Raleigh
City of Wilson
Town of Cary
Next Use Case
Since November 2020, the partnership's Steering Committee has begun exploring opportunities for shared data standards around local and regional greenways and open park spaces. Development of this use case is in preliminary phases but is intended to monitor foot traffic and peak utilization times for such amenities. As public health-related concerns continue to increase, developing a use case around greenways and open park spaces, which often cross jurisdictional boundaries, will be impetrative to improve safety while keeping the region's constituents outdoors and engaging in healthy lifestyle patterns.
Is your community interested in learning more and/or joining? Contact Joseph Hoffheimer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (919)558-9400