Using image data to improve Amsterdam public services

New data sets of panoramic images of Amsterdam have the potential to be used to improve quality of life and efficiency of public services.

Amsterdam City Council and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are among nine cities and three universities involved in SCORE, an EU-funded project covering the North Sea region aiming to develop innovative, open data-driven solutions to metropolitan problems.

These applications  could focus on sustainable mobility, air quality improvement and crowd management.

In Amsterdam, the city council has a camera car that takes panoramic images in the area, resulting in geographical data about objects in the streets, such as rubbish bins and lamp posts. 

Training deep learning systems

The goal is to train deep learning systems – that is systems that learn by seeing examples, as opposed to those pre-programmed with specific actions – in object recognition and localisation.

UvA PhD student Inske Groenen, who is examining the application of the data sets with the aim of improving liveability, said: “We use our dataset in the context of improving quality of life through public services. But the possible applications go further. The datasets can also be used, for example, in the context of autonomous driving.

“We can now unleash experiments and various networks on our data set. SCORE and Amsterdam City Council would also like us to zoom in on the quality of city life. One approach would be an analysis of specific objects to identify characteristics that affect the liveability of a neighbourhood, like the presence of parks or particular architectural styles. We are now investigating exactly how we’re going to do that.”

Developing and deploying useful AI

Amsterdam is committed to a people-centred approach to AI, that is developing and deploying AI technology that truly improves people’s lives, and as one of the world’s most AI-ready cities, the Dutch capital is proving to be an effective living lab for AI solutions. 

The AI Technology for People programme, for example, is a collaboration between Amsterdam’s knowledge institutes, council and hospitals focusing on AI solutions for healthcare, business innovation and citizen support.

Read more business news from around Amsterdam.