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SensorThings API and Smart Cities

Roland van der Heijden, Thomas Adolphi, Hylke van der Schaaf, Bart de Lathouwer and Athina Trakas

(Submission #351)


SensorThings API has been used by the City Of Rotterdam in the Ruggedised project ( and the ESPRESSO project ( to make sensor readings available in a 3D city model.

The OGC SensorThings API is an OGC standard providing an open and unified framework to interconnect IoT devices, data, and applications over the Web. It is non-proprietary, platform-independent, and perpetual royalty-free. The OGC SensorThings API significantly simplifies and accelerates the development of IoT applications. Application developers can connect to various IoT devices and create innovative applications without worrying the daunting heterogeneous protocols of the different IoT devices. The OGC SensorThings API can also be embedded within various IoT hardware and software platforms, so that the various IoT devices can effortlessly connect with the OGC standard-compliant servers around the world. In summary, the OGC SensorThings API is transforming the numerous disjointed IoT systems into a fully connected platform where complex tasks can be synchronized and performed.

The current generation semantic 3D city models are static in nature and do not support time-dependent properties. There are many other application and simulation scenarios (e.g., environmental simulations, disaster management, training simulators), where time plays an important role. It is also important to distinguish between different types of changes that take place in cities over time. Some of these changes may be slower in nature, e.g., i. history or evolution of cities such as construction or demolition of buildings and ii. managing multiple versions of the city models.

Some of the changes may also represent high frequency or dynamic variations of object properties, e.g., variations of a. thematic attributes such as changes of physical quantities (energy demands, temperature, solar irradiation levels); b. spatial properties such as change of a feature’s geometry with respect to shape and location (moving objects); and c. real-time sensor observations (e.g., air quality sensors, weather stations, or smart meters). In this case, only some of the properties of otherwise static objects need to represent such time-varying values.

In this session you will learn how the SensorThings API was used to serve a variety of sensor information (parking sensors, bridge sensors and CSV based information) and visualize it in a 3D CityGML city model.


Topic Area:  [2.6] Cooperation on standardization
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional Fields

Academic:   No
Data Provider:   No
Data User:   Yes
INSPIRE Implementer (IT):   Yes
INSPIRE newbies:   No
Policy Officers:   Yes
Public Administration (MS/Regional/Local):   Yes
Thematic specialists:   Yes
Other_theme:   Smart Cities
Comments:   Smart Cities, Sensors, Internet of Things, API

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