Spatial Intelligence for the Integrated Care of Seniors in Rural Neighborhoods (RAFVINIERT)

Spatial Intelligence for the Integrated Care of Seniors in Rural Neighborhoods (RAFVINIERT) Vanessa Liebler for the i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

For older people, the way to the supermarket, pharmacy or doctor is often too far in rural regions. Supply bottlenecks affect the centers of structurally weak villages as well as single-family home areas. At the Mainz University of Applied Sciences, architectures and implementation strategies for the small-scale monitoring of such areas are to be designed. In addition, calculations for the accessibility of supply facilities are being developed that focus on senior citizens. This is done by integrating geospatial data on topics such as accessibility or wayfinding. Through direct continuous communication with the target group and a real laboratory on site, application opportunities and development needs are identified at an early stage. This project is funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.


The project “Spatial Intelligence for the Integrated Care of Seniors in Rural Neighborhoods (RAFVINIERT)”, applied for by Markus Schaffert, Klaus Böhm and Pascal Neis, has received a funding commitment from the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung for three years. During this period, the i3mainz team will address the issue of mobility for seniors in rural areas in close cooperation with various partners. The project is being funded with up to one million euros.

The way to the supermarket, pharmacy or trusted doctor is often long in rural regions. For older people who want to live a self-determined life in their own homes, this distance is sometimes too far. It is no longer just the centers of structurally weak villages where problems with care are becoming more concentrated. In the foreseeable future, supply bottlenecks are also likely to occur in the single-family home areas of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that are so widespread in the countryside.


Against this background, i3mainz researchers are developing innovative tools and solutions for serving these areas and their inhabitants in close cooperation with counties and rural communities. They will design tools and implementation strategies for small-scale monitoring within the framework of municipal geodata infrastructures. They will also develop accessibility calculations for utilities that focus on seniors. This will be done, for example, by integrating geodata that have so far only been marginally taken into account on topics such as individual mobility capability, accessibility or route safety, as well as through calculation approaches based on artificial intelligence.

Good tools do not necessarily lead to their application. The project team is meeting this challenge by means of continuous communication workshops and a real laboratory on site. In this way, opportunities for use are to be continuously discussed with municipal decision-makers and development needs are to be identified at an early stage in a transdisciplinary set-up.

The project is led by Markus Schaffert, who has been working at i3mainz since September 2019 on the user-oriented further development of spatial data infrastructures, the geo-digitization of rural areas and the application of geoinformatics methods for dealing with demographic change processes. Partners in the project are the counties of Kaiserslautern and Tirschenreuth, the Landkreistag Rheinland-Pfalz and the FIRU mbH - Forschungs- und Informations-Gesellschaft für Fach- und Rechtsfragen der Raum- und Umweltplanung.