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SMART CITIESFlood early warning system – GCBA - BGH Tech Partner

AWS Succes Case

Context: the City of Buenos Aires is home to a comprehensive water gate control system, meticulously designed to protect the city’s inhabitants from potential floods. Scattered throughout the network of piped rivers, these industrial-grade floodgates are crucial for maintaining public safety. However, the management and utilization of raw data generated by these physical industrial components presented a significant challenge for the City. The existing system lacked a solution to effectively visualize and harness this data, impeding data-driven decision-making. This challenge prompted the City of Buenos Aires (GCBA) to seek an innovative solution.

Challenge: the core challenge for GCBA was to leverage data analytics across the entire fluvial system and make it accessible to every analyst within the organization, thus empowering data-driven decision-making through the use of real, processed data. This transformation demanded the resolution of multiple IT challenges, including:

  • Successful data ingestion from every watergate.
  • Automated daily data updates.
  • Implementation of the T.I.C.K. stack, complemented by Grafana for data visualization.
  • Creation of an enterprise-level dashboard to make the data accessible and actionable.

The GCBA’s solution to these challenges represents a technological breakthrough that combines on-premises infrastructure with the capabilities of AWS’s cloud analytics platform.

Solution: the on-premises component comprises Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) and IoT sensors that play a pivotal role in data generation, processing, and the day-to-day operation of the water gate control system. These devices continuously monitor the levels of the channeled rivers and, based on this data, autonomously open and close the water gates to prevent flooding. The RTUs and IoT sensors are interconnected with an infrastructure supported by several Oracle physical servers. To effectively process, analyze, and visualize this wealth of data, AWS cloud analytics come into play. This cloud-based infrastructure provides the computational power and storage capacity needed for long-term analytics, allowing for the study of operation patterns within the physical solution. The AWS IoT Core, in conjunction with the Mosquitto MQTT broker, serves as the conduit for receiving data from diverse IoT sensor sources. AWS IoT Core played a pivotal role in the success of the solution for GCBA by providing a robust, scalable, and secure foundation for their IoT sensor data management. Its primary benefits included seamless integration with various IoT sensor sources, ensuring data from the watergate control system was efficiently collected. Additionally, AWS IoT Core offered a reliable connection with Mosquitto MQTT broker, guaranteeing real-time data transmission and enabling GCBA to make informed decisions based on the latest information. This solution’s deployment on AWS IoT Core not only improved data accuracy and timeliness but also enhanced overall system performance and responsiveness, laying the groundwork for effective flood management and urban safety.

This data is then subjected to an Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) process executed by Telegraf, culminating in the availability of data within an InfluxDB database. While InfluxDB’s embedded analytics tool, Chronograf, was initially considered, the ultimate choice for data visualization was Grafana. The decision to employ Grafana as the dashboarding tool proved instrumental in achieving superior results and performance, ensuring that the data is presented in a visually intuitive and actionable manner. AWS EC2 allows the automatic implementation of Grafana with ease and flexibility regarding configurations. 

In summary, GCBA’s integration of AWS services with their existing water gate control infrastructure represents a paradigm shift in urban flood management. By bridging the gap between industrial equipment and modern data analytics, GCBA has not only unlocked the full potential of their water gate control system but also set a new standard for data-driven decision-making within municipal organizations. This collaborative effort between GCBA and AWS is poised to enhance public safety, improve flood management, and empower urban planners with the insights needed to build a more resilient and sustainable Buenos Aires.