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Córdoba drives urban sustainability and improves waste management with Google Cloud

About Municipalidad de Córdoba

Córdoba is the capital of the Argentine province of the same name. The city is in the country’s central region, on both sides of the Suquía River. It is the second-most populous city in Argentina (pop. 1,535,868) after Buenos Aires, and the largest by area. It also acts as a major cultural, economic, educational, financial, and entertainment hub in the region.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: Argentina

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Thanks to Google Cloud’s tools, Córdoba’s government runs its “Environmental Management” platform to drive civic engagement to keep the city clean.

Result

  • Wait times for trucks to enter the Piedras Blancas facility reduced from 5 to 1.5 minutes.
  • 140–160 trucks monitored in real time every day.
  • 81 million georeferences for waste collection units managed in six months.
  • 99.9% uptime since launch.

58,450 tons of waste recorded per month on average.

Córdoba is the capital of the Argentine province of Córdoba and the second-most populous city in Argentina, with over one and a half million inhabitants. It is well known for its beautiful landscapes and its cultural and tourist attractions, making it an ideal destination for visitors, students, and nature lovers.

The city’s current administration, headed by Mayor Martín Llaryora, aims to transform its residents’ quality of life through its Environmental Management platform. Consequently, the City Government began using Google Cloud’s cloud to develop solutions for better waste control, and to provide residents with more information.

After diagnosing Córdoba’s waste management position and its environmental situation, the City Government’s technology area decided to deploy a new system to help garbage collectors and inspectors perform their daily tasks. It also sought to provide residents with a solution so they can help with environmental sustainability by reporting waste collection issues in their area.

To this end, the City Government set out to move to the cloud for the first time and develop a system to control waste management in the short term. There is also a plan to foster long-term civic engagement through the Modernization Department’s “Civic App”.

The first challenge the city government’s employees faced was that they had never used cloud technology before, which meant they had to be given information and trained to learn how to use the new tools.

“We had never worked in the cloud before. It was our first experience and our main concern was whether the teams would manage to adapt to it. With determination and a willingness to improve, we optimized internal processes and adopted the tools very quickly.”

Engr. Víctor Di Rienzo, Under Secretary of Systems and Connectivity, Córdoba City Government.

Toward a paradigm shift

Córdoba’s City Government employs over 10,000 staff working on diverse tasks. The Systems and Connectivity team is divided into three sections: operational maintenance of servers and supplies; telecommunications and connectivity; and new developments.

Aiming to transform Córdoba into a sustainable city, the Departments of Environmental Management and Sustainability, and Systems and Connectivity decided to incorporate secure, reliable tools to eliminate the need for increasingly more physical servers to meet the high demand for connectivity and technical efficiency.

By incorporating Cloud Run for the frontend, the City Government gained a scalable, robust solution with high availability. They also chose Pub/Sub to improve the performance of an asynchronous messaging system, and added other Google Cloud tools, such as Firebase, Container Registry, Cloud Storage, Cloud Build, and Cloud Functions.

“Cloud Run grabbed our attention. It was very easy to implement and integrate Cloud Run. We barely had to make any changes in our containers.”

Adrián Coria, Cloud Architect

With Cloud Run and the stress tests conducted in the early development stage, the systems department was able to adjust instances and their scalability, thus managing to meet all the needs identified in the project’s conception and expand toward the cloud, saving time and money.

“Another aspect we analyzed was operational costs. Having physical servers is at least 10 times more expensive, and you also need other assets, such as generator sets, air conditioners, networking, and security supplies,” says Engr. Víctor Di Rienzo, Córdoba’s Under Secretary of Systems and Connectivity.

First steps in the cloud

In just six months, Córdoba’s City Government took its first steps in the cloud and managed to transform its environmental management. Google Cloud allowed it to maintain a highly scalable, flexible and stable system, increase productivity, and streamline processes by using tools with predictable costs.

This transformed the waste disposal process, making it more effective and secure. By deploying Google Cloud, they could track every trip made by the trucks from the moment they collect the waste in the city’s districts to their final destination at the Piedras Blancas facility.

“Nowadays, we can complete the process faster. The task of registering drivers as they enter the facility, which used to take 5 minutes, now takes only one minute and a half,” says Santiago Lobos, Full Stack Developer.

As this facility currently handles waste from Córdoba and also neighboring towns, shortening truck wait times to improve waste disposal management was essential.

Digitizing the system not only made it possible to track collectors and improve process efficiency, but also to spend less time on tasks.

“Besides saving paper, improving traceability was difficult. With Google Cloud, we were able to record incidents during the process, such as non-compliance with health and safety regulations, issues in collection routes, observing how collection is performed in each district, and taking action if necessary,” Di Rienzo explains.

With solutions such as Cloud Run, Cloud DNS, Pub/Sub, Compute Engine and Google Maps API, they monitor 140 to 160 trucks belonging to the city’s three collection companies and 80 from private companies, all in real time.

This improved inspector and collector productivity and reduced documentation loss.

“We used to have delays with incident reviews. Now, we do them through the app. We went from managing incidents on paper to doing it digitally, which allows us to monitor them minute by minute from any device.”

Santiago Lobos, Full Stack Developer

A roadmap for the future

Environmental conservation and protection policies are key for the world’s large urban areas today and in future. Planning is essential to help prevent pollution issues.

In line with Córdoba’s main goals, its government’s technology department seeks to keep expanding the Environmental Management program and develop more tools for its residents. The team expects to make the Civic App available to all residents within a few months.

Cloud technology now plays a crucial role in helping Córdoba become a smart city with quality, viable and sustainable service delivery. This will in turn help save resources, integrate the city’s entire environmental management, and incorporate monitoring of other services, such as street cleaning, green spaces, air, and water. There is also the possibility of making information more transparent, and the ability to capture and process it in real time without any losses in the processes.

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About Municipalidad de Córdoba

Córdoba is the capital of the Argentine province of the same name. The city is in the country’s central region, on both sides of the Suquía River. It is the second-most populous city in Argentina (pop. 1,535,868) after Buenos Aires, and the largest by area. It also acts as a major cultural, economic, educational, financial, and entertainment hub in the region.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: Argentina