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Moffett Field, California

NASA Earth Observatory

Client: NASA’s Ames Research Center

Role: Digital transformation and innovation adviser with Cisco

Define

Challenge

Urban managers, planners, and designers face significant challenges in their efforts to manage the world’s urban environments in a sustainable manner. At the same time, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has technologies and space-based assets that are valuable tools for creating a smarter urban future. NASA’s Ames Research Center wanted to improve collaboration between the research community and urban leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area to make data useful, shareable by experts for further computational analysis, and accessible to decision makers via dashboard summaries.

Solution

Representatives from the cities of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and San Francisco shared their strategies, programs, and projects for a more sustainable future. Researchers and managers from NASA explored how remote sensing, modeling, computing, visualization, and decision support systems can help create and manage a sustainable urban environment. Universities, research institutions, and technology companies covered a range of solutions, from monitoring individual appliances in the home to managing the grid to comparative assessments of cities from new satellite-based information systems.

Impact

While the focus of this strategic initiative was on the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the program covered ground related to urban management, planning, and design at the local, regional, and global scales. We helped NASA to better understand the business problems facing urban leaders and to make city and public agency leaders and technology companies more aware of NASA’s capabilities. By bringing members of these groups together, we seeded new collaborations between NASA, other research and advocacy groups, the private sector, and those tasked with sustainable urban management.