Elia Innovation

Elia’s first open innovation contest

In 2016, Elia organised the Start-Up/Open Innovation Challenge in order to identify start-ups that are proposing tools to enhance public acceptance of infrastructure projects. The contest was won by Gilytics, a Zurich-based start-up.

The winning project

Gilytics provides an interactive platform to improve public participation in planning new projects with 3D visualization and augmented reality.
The tool provides a set of functions for identifying the optimal route for power lines, including the possible position of masts.
It allows interactive participation by all stakeholders involved in the planning process in order to find a common sustainable agreement.
The process is simple quite straightforward:

  • identify all data types that will contribute to the route definition: technical constraints, geology, habitat, nature protected zones, existing infrastructure, etc.;
  • integrate the digitized version of these data and allocate them respective weights (e.g. avoidance of high population density areas or of schools) in the tool;
  • allow the tool to compute the optimal route based on these constraints;
  • visualise these results g. using Google Earth.

The platform is a good assistant to help Elia in defining routes for its new infrastructure. It might also be used to engage dialogue with concerned stakeholders and public to visualise and objective the constraints.
The tool was tested internally on a new line project. Following discussions with concerned departments, over 80 layers of data were identified.


“The tool allows us to define various constraints (soil, habitat, protected nature area, technical constraints, etc.) and allocate them a specific weight. The tool then identifies the optimum route. In the proof of concept, the results converged with the route that Elia had proposed, which validated the work done by our experts.”

Johan Maricq, Innovation Project Leader

“Such a tool allows us to dynamically engage with our stakeholders: public authorities, inhabitants, etc. Thanks to data visualization we can remove some of the emotional charge and the fear.”

Iris D’Hollander, Public Acceptance Officer

More info on the winner