The "EXTREMA Global" application aims at the personalized risk assessment of thermal stresses. Specifically, it is a smartphone application that uses weather data for a specific geographic location and provides personalized information to city residents and visitors about heat-related health threats. Athens was the first city in Greece to use this application.
The city of Athens, based on scientific studies and climate models, will be facing more intense problems in relation to heat waves in the coming years. Very hot days and heatwaves are observed to have an ataxic trend and very hot summers are increasing in intensity, frequency and range.
In this context, the Municipality of Athens is preparing and shielding itself through a series of innovative policies such as the "EXTREMA Global" application. It aims to inform the citizens and visitors of the city about of the high temperatures by providing them directions to reach the cool spots available in the city.
The user enters the application environment and by entering information such as their location they can retrieve useful information such as where the cool spots around them are (air-conditioned rooms, parks, shady streets, fountains and more) and where there is water availability (e.g. public taps, springs, animal watering holes, etc.).
In 2021 the Air Quality service was added, where the user can see the air quality index based on values from aerosol particles: PM2.5, PM10, NO2, 03, S02 as well as index-based recommendations on activity and safety measures according to the World Health Organization. Also, in 2022, the option for cool routes was added where the user can choose the coolest route to their reach its destination.
Thus, a broader objective of the application concerns the information and education of the population about the most dangerous extreme weather phenomenon for our health and the provision of infrastructure for the protection of the population.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The city of Athens was the first city in Greece to use this app as part of the Treasure project, which gave rise to the TreasureApp, which provides the user with a personalized heat risk assessment for a specific location and which was the beginning of the "EXTREMAGlobal".
Other cities that followed and implemented "EXTREMA Global" were Paris, Milan, Rotterdam and London. The application is already provided in 4 languages making it particularly useful for foreign visitors as well.
Easy access to the information provided by the application using only a smartphone makes the application an easy tool where very important information is available for the user's living during hot weather.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The application is currently in full operation and users through the application can receive various details about heat waves in the city of Athens, in order to deal with them. In particular, the information provided concerns:
- the thermal risk at the user's location,
- the "cool" places around him (air-conditioned rooms, parks, shady streets, fountains, etc.) and
- the locations where there is water ( e.g. public taps, springs, animal watering holes, etc.).
The application also indicates the hospitals and clinics where help can be requested in case of intense heat which can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Collaborations & Partnerships
This application is the result of a collaboration between the Municipality of Athens and the National Observatory of Athens (there was collaboration for previous projects from which EXTREMAGlobal was developed), while other partners were the Development and Tourism Promotion Company of Athens - Local Self-Governing Organization Development Corporation (Develop Athens SA) of the Municipality of Athens and the company ARTi Analytics BV. The simultaneous cooperation of the above was excellent.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The application aimed at the residents of the Municipality of Athens as well as its visitors. Easy access to the information provided by the application using only a smartphone makes the application an easy tool that provides very important information for the user's living during hot weather.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
This specific innovation is an integral part of a wider framework for the development of digital innovations in the Municipality of Athens, in the context of data management for adaptation to climate change. This effort requires employees’ continuous training and upskilling, with programs to learn or improve their digital skills.
In particular, the application has significantly improved the employees' knowledge of geospatial data processing (GIS) while contributing drastically to the smooth and constructive cooperation of the Municipality's departments for the exchange of know-how and data.
The spread of the application to other cities is expected to develop the cooperation of these cities with the city of Athens and at the same time increase the number of beneficiaries.
Challenges and Failures
The biggest challenge identified during the implementation of the innovation was the good cooperation of the agencies that took part but also the response that the application would have in the community. The cooperation between the agencies has been excellent, while the response of the community is considered satisfactory.
Conditions for Success
Many factors contribute to the success as well as the sustainability of the innovation, such as the continuous and uninterrupted support of the political leadership, but also the strengthening of initiatives and the guidance of the highest administrative officers of the Municipality. At the same time, financial resources are an important part of the right investment in the development of digital innovations, while employees should be in continuous training-upskilling, with programs to learn or improve their digital skills.
Yes, the cities that followed and implemented "EXTREMA Global" were Paris, Milan, Rotterdam and London. The application is already provided in 4 languages making it particularly useful for foreign visitors as well. This innovation can be implemented to other cities too. This would be an even more positive development of the project as the range of users would expand/grow and the information provided through the application would result to a greater impact on the community.
The operation of the application so far helps in a new form of identification and quick resolution of problems arising from the rapid deterioration of weather phenomena due to climate change and especially the high temperatures that are increasingly threatening the city of Athens. At the same time, methods and a good network of development and implementation of innovative ideas are developed with specialized employees in new technologies.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
26 January 2023