Smart Urban Heatmap Bern

Urban heat is an ever-growing problem, also in the city and region of Bern. In order to develop intelligent and sustainable solutions, a comprehensive and open data foundation is required.


  • Lead school Business School
  • Institute Institute for Public Sector Transformation
  • Research unit Data and Infrastructure
  • Strategic thematic field Thematic field "Sustainable Development"
  • Duration (planned) 01.05.2023 - 31.12.2024
  • Project management Dr. Jurek Müller
  • Head of project Dr. Jurek Müller
  • Project staff Dr. Jurek Müller
    Prof. Stephan Haller
  • Partner Smart City Verein Bern
    Meteotest AG (Leading House)
  • Keywords Urban climate, Open Data, Temperature, Climate adaptation, Smart City


The regional and local effects of climate change are serious. In Switzerland, temperatures have already risen by 2.5 °C since the beginning of industrialization. One of the consequences of this is that extreme events such as heatwaves are increasing. In the summer of 2022, 623 people died from heat in Switzerland, around 60% of which can be attributed to global warming. Periods of heat are particularly dangerous when it doesn't sufficiently cool down at night and the body is unable to recover. People in urban areas are particularly affected by this so-called heat island effect. This effect has been scientifically investigated in the city of Bern for several years using a climate measurement network operated by the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern. While only one so-called tropical night (> 20 °C) was measured in Bern/Zollikofen in 2022, there were 9-10 tropical nights in some places in the city of Bern. Overcoming these challenges requires not only urban planning measures, but also the active participation of the population. This is where the Smart Urban Heatmap project steps in.

Course of action

The aim was to expand the existing measurement network into the agglomeration municipalities of Bern and to make the live measurement data as open and accessible as possible, both visually with the help of visualizations and as open data. The Institute Public Sector Transformation supported this process, particularly in the area of open data.


With the support of the companies Meteotest and Emch+Berger, the existing measurement network was expanded with new stations in the agglomeration communities around Bern. The measurement data from the entire network is transmitted via LoRaWAN and thus made available in real time. A clear map visualization allows the comparison of temperatures at different measuring stations as well as a chronological review of time series. An Open Data API allows access to live data and time series and, thanks to detailed documentation, offers a barrier-free entry point into the use of the data.

Looking ahead

The publication and visualization of live measurement data from the city of Bern and the surrounding area creates both the basis for raising public awareness and for the development of innovative solutions based on open data. This data, which is now freely accessible, can be used to create innovative applications that warn of persistent heat stress at the place of residence, for example, or provide information about cooling options in the vicinity. The digital infrastructure created, including visualizations and Open Data API, is also easily scalable and allows the connection of potential additional local measurement networks in the canton of Bern and beyond. The result of the Smart Urban Heatmap Bern project is thanks to a broad collaboration between stakeholders from science, business and civil society.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 13: Climate action