The city of Barcelona is a big adopter of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city solutions. The local government of this city started a trial using IoT and big data technology to manage the big amount of tourists that visit Gaudi’s world-renowned Sagrada Familia Cathedral.



Using IoT and Big Data for Tourist Attractions

Barcelona is known for being the host of Mobile World Congress (MWC). So, it is not seen as a surprise that the city has been making use of IoT and big data solutions to improve their city. The latest trial in the city was the use of IoT and big data to manage the movement and improve the experience of tourists at the Sagrada Familia.

This smart city project was run through the Mobile World Capital’s d-LAB digital transformation initiative. This project was run alongside the annual MWC fair. Furthermore, this trial served as a way to support and show off mobile-centric innovation in the city of Barcelona.

The partners wanted to get a better understanding of the tourist flow of this tourist attraction. Therefore, they implemented the use of IoT and big data to analyze the tourist flow around the Sagrada Familia.

This enabled d-Lab to get a better understanding of the dynamics of visitors to this tourist attraction. Furthermore, it also provided insight on how their presence impacted the local environment and how they made use of the city’s public transport to reach the site.

Outcomes of Collected Information

D-LAB was set out to collect as much information as possible from tourists. The aim was to be able to create visitor profiles such as tourists, one night visitors, travelers, day-trippers or people that visit Barcelona only for the nightlife. This model, involved the use of applied data from Orange to analyze the movements. Furthermore, d-LAB also established the most commonly followed routes by tourists. This involved routes through Eixample, Ciutat Vella and Sants-Montjuic districts.

>After collecting this data, the partner implemented the IoT elements to evaluate and determine mobility patterns at street level. This allowed the opportunity to evaluate the reach of micro-mobility in the immediate vicinity of the Sagrada Familia over a four week period.

To enable this, the partners made use of Wi-Fi, GSM and 3D sensors that were located in this area. These identified both the main entry and exit points of the site. Furthermore, the maximum density of movement was found to be the pedestrian crossings that are located at the intersection of Carrer de Mallorca and Carrer de Marina. With this findings, they were also able to discover that half of the visitors that went to the Sagrada Familia stayed in the area for less than 40 minutes. Surprisingly, they also found out that only 20% actually enter the church itself.

The collected data also provided insight on the busiest visiting times. This provided with the insight that 10am and midday are the busiest visiting times. Furthermore, this pattern was also shown to repeat during the weekend with an additional spike in the afternoon.


With the collection of this information, the d-LAB was able to make a series of recommendations to the city’s management. This smart city project can be a very useful in cities that receive high amounts of tourists such as Barcelona. The collection of data on this particular subject provides the local government with more information. In fact, this information can help the local government to find ways to alleviate tourist attractions during the busiest hours. This provides the needed information to local governments to improve their crowd management capabilities.