Helsinki unveils heatmap depicting the city’s busiest areas in real time

Helsinki unveils heatmap depicting the city’s busiest areas in real time

The heatmap will help tourists feel safer by showing them which locations they can visit without fearing large crowds of people

On Wednesday 23 June, the Finnish capital unveiled a new colour-coded heatmap that depicts how crowded tourist areas are in real time. The City of Helsinki collaborated with the software company Hypercell to create the website with the aim of promoting recovery in the tourism industry.

Ensuring safety and security

The heatmap allows tourists and residents to view how congested certain attractions are at various times so they can plan their trips accordingly and ensure that they do not expose themselves to risk by visiting crowded places. According to the capital, Helsinki is believed to be the first city in the world to make such a heatmap accessible to the public with the goal of increasing safety and security.

Helsinki’s Business Director Marja-Leena Rinkineva further highlighted this idea, noting: “The health crisis has also taken an extremely heavy toll on the tourism sector. Helsinki has suffered from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis more than the rest of Finland, as a large part of the local ecosystem has been built upon hotels, restaurants, events, event services and experiences.

What we need to do now is make strong efforts to develop new joint operating models to increase and communicate about safety. Heatmap is a great example of how businesses and the City of Helsinki can create an even safer city together.”

What data is collected?

The heatmap is updated every minute and it collects 4 main types of data: human flow (the volume of people at different points in time), average time spent in each area, how long people spend in the vicinity of certain locations, and the movement of human flow.

The City of Helsinki explained that this data is gathered via sensors which collect Anonymous Bluetooth signals from devices such as mobile phones. However, no personal information is collected and the identities of people remain anonymous.

This website has been created as part of a data pilot project and is one of the development projects of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. With the launch of the Helsinki Heatmap, the capital seeks to promote the recovery of the tourism industry by making people feel safe.

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