Spatial intelligence for the integrated care of senior citizens 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 distance to the supermarket, pharmacy or doctor is often too far in rural regions. Supply bottlenecks affect the local centers of economically underdeveloped villages and single-family home residential areas. At Mainz University of Applied Sciences, our aim is to design architectures and implementation strategies for the small-scale monitoring of such areas. In addition, calculations are being developed for the accessibility of supply facilities that focus on senior citizens by integrating geospatial data on topics such as accessibility and route safety. Direct continuous communication with the target group and an on-site real-world laboratory ensure application opportunities and development needs are identified at an early stage. This project is being funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.


The project Spatial intelligence for the integrated care of senior citizens in rural neighborhoods (RAFVINIERT), applied for by Markus Schaffert, Klaus Böhm and Pascal Neis, has received a three-year funding commitment from the Carl Zeiss Foundation. During this period, the i3mainz team will address the issue of mobility for senior citizens in rural areas in close cooperation with various partners. The project will receive up to one million Euro.

The distance to the supermarket, pharmacy or trusted doctor is often a long one in rural regions. For older people who want to live independent lives in their own homes, this distance is sometimes too far. It is no longer just the local centers of economically underdeveloped villages where supply problems are becoming more concentrated. In the foreseeable future, supply bottlenecks are also likely to occur in the single-family home residential areas built in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that are so common in the countryside.


In view of this, i3mainz researchers are developing innovative tools and solutions to supply these areas and their residents in close cooperation with administrative districts 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 services that focus on senior citizens by, for example, integrating geodata only marginally taken into account to date, including data on topics such as individual mobility capabilities, accessibility and route safety, as well as with calculation approaches based on artificial intelligence.

Good tools do not necessarily result in their implementation. The project team is meeting this challenge with continuous communication workshops and a real-world laboratory on site. This will enable continuous discussion of opportunities for use with municipal decision-makers and early identification of development needs in a transdisciplinary set-up.

The project is headed by Markus Schaffert, who has been working at i3mainz since September 2019, focusing on the user-oriented continued development of spatial data infrastructures, the geo-digitization of rural areas and the application of geoinformatics methods for addressing demographic change processes. Partners in the project include the administrative districts of Kaiserslautern and Tirschenreuth, the Landkreistag Rheinland-Pfalz and FIRU mbH (Forschungs- und Informations-Gesellschaft für Fach- und Rechtsfragen der Raum- und Umweltplanung).