Cologne deploys GeoAI for municipal wastewater management

Cologne Germany

The German city of Cologne has deployed a geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI) digital twin solution for streamlining the its wastewater operations.

The solution automatically detects changes in paved surfaces that affect drainage, enabling Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln, AöR (Cologne StEB), Cologne’s municipal wastewater authority, to calculate wastewater taxes on private lands more efficiently.


Prior to the use of Hexagon’s GeoAI, the tax assessment process was labour-intensive. Property owners rarely reported the addition or removal of paved areas, requiring Cologne StEB to collect and record data manually, then validate the information with property owners.

Using imagery and lidar-based data collection and AI-enabled analysis, the GeoAI solution automatically identifies and classifies property surfaces. It also recognises obstructions such as shadows, vegetation and roof overhangs that could impair evaluation.

The resulting data is made available in Cologne StEB’s enterprise GIS via an interface based on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards.

“Cologne StEB’s core mission is the wastewater collection and treatment, but its responsibilities extend to the entirety of the city’s water management operations,” said Jürgen Becker, member of the board of Cologne StEB.

“Hexagon delivered a solution that automates processes, enabling us to concentrate on quality control and improving water services for the residents of Cologne.”

Hexagon’s GeoAI solution includes Leica CityMapper-2, a high-performance airborne imagery and lidar mapping system, Erdas Imagine imagery analysis software and AI capabilities from Melowntech.

In addition to detecting changes in paved surfaces, the solution can also be used to simulate and assess the impacts of heavy rainfall and identify areas suitable for renaturalisation to improve the city’s climate.

“Leveraging GeoAI to create a digital twin with automated analysis provides powerful applications for municipalities to boost the quality of life for residents,” added Maximilian Weber, senior vice president, EMEA, Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division.

“We are proud to provide Cologne with a solution that can enhance water services today as well as improve the city’s climate in the future.”

Hexagon specialises in digital reality solutions, combining sensor, software and autonomous technologies.

Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division seeks to improve the resilience and sustainability of the world’s critical services and infrastructure.

The division claims its solutions turn complex data about people, places and assets into meaningful information and capabilities for better, faster decision-making in public safety, utilities, defence, transportation, and government.


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