Thundermaps wins $1.25m European grant to create ‘smart cities’ in Sweden

Thinking Cities
By Thinking Cities November 4, 2015 12:12

Thundermaps wins $1.25m European grant to create ‘smart cities’ in Sweden

Wellington software company Thundermaps has received a $1.25m grant from the European Commission to help make Swedish cities “smarter”.

It plans to offer the same service to New Zealand councils from March.

The 17-person firm sells software and apps that can plot hazards and alert people to events that are happening in their particular areas of interest.

Snowploughs can bury cars in snow, making alerts of where they are operating useful for Europeans.

People can map these out themselves by using their mouse to “drag and drop” lines on zoomable maps.

Chief executive Clint Van Marrewijk said its software could be used by councils to let people know if a building consent request had been lodged nearby, or if their rubbish collection was changing.

It has developed a service for residents of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, that will alert them if a snowplough is passing through one of their zones of interest, so they can move their car.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the European grant was great recognition for the company, and the technology Thundermaps was involved in was on the rise.

“Almost all important information can be represented geospatially.” Thundermaps’ approach could combine “very well with our strong philosophy of open data,” she said.

“We are the leading council making our civic data available.”

The technology could be used to help people locate community services or free events in their area, she said.

“Whether this is the software we would want to use, or whether we have already got things in progress – we shall see.”

Thundermaps developed a free service in 2013, to showcase its abilities, that will send email alerts when properties are listed for sale on Trade Me in a home-buyer’s areas of interest. These could include blocks of streets within a suburb or a particular school zone.

In August, it teamed up with Trade Me investor Gareth Morgan’s Morgan Foundation to create a service that lets people report and get alerts about pollution discharges into rivers.

Thundermaps had developed a business plan for international expansion with the help of consultants Deloitte that involved opening subsidiaries in multiple countries in parallel “to create a business machine that can build copies of itself”, Van Marrewijk said.

It now had a “humming” business in Australia where it was helping businesses map health and safety hazards, he said.


Thinking Cities
By Thinking Cities November 4, 2015 12:12