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  • Joe 16:51 on December 21, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , environment, , maps, visualization   

    Copenhagen Layer: local environment on the map 

    copenhagenlayer mapview

    Copenhagenlayer Map View

    Copenhagen Layer is the name of an environment monitoring initiative which shows you local conditions in Augmented Reality on your mobile phone. These environmental conditions are continuously sampled from the city by volunteering bike messengers who carry around tiny measurement devises – senspods – and upload this data in real time to the Copenhagen Layer data center.

    Currently the project runs in Copenhagen only, so if you’re not in in the neighborhood you’re out of luck to experience the project yourself.

    Good news: as of today the same data can be viewed on the map at copenhagenlayer.org. The site is still under development and we are actively experimenting with different visualization methods. As more data becomes available, more aggregate data may lead to richer views and more consistent data. At the moment only NOx levels are being used while the deployed sensor type is capable of measuring far more parameters, like COx, temperature, humidity and noise level in dB.

    For more background info about the project see Copenhagen Layer: realtime air quality around you

  • Joe 16:18 on December 19, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , environment, ,   

    Copenhagen Layer: realtime air quality around you 

    Reality view

    Copenhagen Layer in Reality view

    Now that the Copenhagen Conference is over we are left with a disappointing end statement. Apparently this was the maximum our world leaders could achieve when they got together: the potential was huge, the output (very) disappointing.

    In this light I’m very proud to present a local grass-roots initiative to bring street level measurements of environmental pollution to the real time web and your mobile phone.

    Please meet Copenhagenlayer.org and its Augmented Reality counter part Copenhagen Layer (link opens Layar app on your mobile device, only useful if you’re in Copenhagen).

    So what is it actually?

    It all started with a blog post by Ronni Tino Pedersen in October, about how cool it would be to visualize the local Copenhagen climate and green initiatives as an overlay over the city, using Augmented Reality. There was no clear focus, but people got interested and started to contact him with ideas. And so the plan grew to

    1. take tiny portable environmental measurement devices,
    2. link these to the internet using mobile phones,
    3. have bike messengers drive them around through city traffic,
    4. thus get a real-time cross section of the local environment conditions within the city,
    5. make these data points visible using Mobile Augmented Reality.

    This only could happen by the shared effort of a very enthusiastic virtual team. This team consisted of

    • Ronni Tino Pedersen Strategic online communications @ New Media Days at Danish Broadcasting Corporation – initiator and virtual project manager
    • Michael Setton, CEO of Sensaris.com who provided the sensors (senspods) and real time measurement set-up
    • Tobias Lau, CEO and founder of Socialaction.dk developing environmental projects with a social scientific focus
    • Michael Friis, creator of Folketsting.dk created the site copenhagenlayer.org including the Google Maps version
    • Tomas Skovgaard, architect maa Tomasskovgaard.com made all graphics
    • Peter Vangsbo Madsen, Cowi.com provided specialist advise on air pollution
    • And myself as data integrator and developer of the Layar implementation

    The result is impressive, using your mobile phone you can experience what the environmental conditions are in your direct neighborhood, and if you’re lucky this data is measured just a few minutes ago! Although not yet directly related to the big picture of the Copenhagen Conference with its focus on CO2 reduction, this project may evolve so that a future version can even visualize the real-time carbon footprint of traffic in the city.

    To quote Ronni Tino Pedersen:

    I actually think copenhagenlayer in it’s current state will make a greater impact as part of the COP15 long tail than it could have during the summit. By focusing on the enabling possibilities of street level measurements we can now show some grassroots action that the politicians couldn’t. This is a good story with a fair chance of making it through the journalistic filters.

    And so it is indeed.

    Encoded uri: layar://cop15

    Are you in Copenhagen? Then jump in: open Layer with the Copenhagen Layer

    Just keep in mind that this project is in its early stages. The measurements are not very well calibrated yet. Interpretation is always risky and indicative at best, but the trends are real and it is very revealing to see the enormous difference of being surrounded by busy traffic or being amidst a calm city park. There are lots and lots more data available from the senspods than NOx alone, these will be integrated once a solid model for interpretation will be established. And with more sensors and more data points available all kind of aggregated views can be constructed and more reliable conclusions drawn. Heatmaps, rush hour vs. mid day traffic, summer vs winter, the sky is the limit.

    This is the start of something great!

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