Volunteers and Devices
So… what is this all about?
Smart Cities Offer Better Services More Efficiently
Smart cities take advantage of the falling cost of sensor hardware to connect everyday objects to the internet. Connected objects can be monitored, and can “talk” to each other. A smart city uses the data to provide essential services more effectively and provide better services.
What we did in Calgary
We recruited 50 volunteers throughout the city. Everyone came to a workshop, where we assembled the devices, connecting 3 sensors, and making sure everything worked properly! Then, we connected all the devices to the network via wifi. After that, volunteers took their sensors home, and connected them to their home wifi. Over the weekend we got 50 air quality devices running in Calgary!
A city-wide Internet of Things “starter kit”
Calgary’s city-wide Internet of Things “starter kit” feeds all these sensor readings into a single browser-based map of air quality in the region. The air quality map is made available to everyone online, so all our volunteers’ sensor readings contribute to public knowledge, and a city-wide Smart Cities demonstration project.
What are we measuring?
Each device houses 3 sensors. The sensors measure PM 2.5, relative humidity, and temperature.
For air quality, we measure particulate matter 2.5, normally known as PM 2.5. This is one of the most important measures of air quality.
Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air compared to what the air can “hold” at that temperature. We measure relative humidity because it can affects PM 2.5.
We measure relative temperature because they can affects PM 2.5.
Air Quality is Important
The air we breathe affects our health, and the health of our environment. For a healthy population, it’s important to have healthy air. One of the most important measures of air quality is PM 2.5. PM 2.5 is a size of particle in the air. It is measured in concentration, that is, the amount of it in the air.
PM 2.5 particles travel farther because they’re smaller: smaller particles don’t settle down as quickly, and as a result, they are retained in the air for longer. Thus, they’re carried by the wind to travel longer distances. This means they affect a larger region around the emission source. On top of that, our respiratory system has a harder time filtering out these small particles, making it more likely that unhealthy substances will get into our lungs and bodies.
So… What’s next?
What happens Next?
Now, GeoConnections Canada is supporting SensorUp so that we can tour Canada with the Smart Citizens for Smart Communities project. We’ll visit 10 municipalities, recruiting both partners and volunteers, to deploy 500 more sensors all over the country!
In each municipality, partners will sign up for workshop tickets. They’ll give these out to volunteers in their area. Then, volunteers will assemble and connect devices at the workshop. Then they’ll take their device home and connect it there. As each person does that, devices will be deployed throughout the municipality.
The devices combine their datastreams to produce a public resource of air quality measurements, as well as maps, visualizations, comparisons, etc. of the data. As measurements come in from all over the municipality, every 5 minutes we’ll be building a public database, with unprecedented geographic and temporal coverage.
Volunteers and partners will get full access to data, visualizations, and mapping, on websites provided by SensorUp. They’ll also get full access to the raw data and API. (SensorUp provides a complete suite of online support tools to get you started with the API.)
What our partners get
Partners get to be on the front lines of deploying sensors throughout their municipality. They recruit, select, and work with volunteers, who are a group of engaged, techy, and community-minded citizens.
Our partners also get access to SensorUp’s experts in smart cities and IoT. Finally, they demonstrate their support for community, advanced technology, and smart cities. Engagement Partners also communicate their support through logo placement on the numerous websites that comprise the program.
What happens at the workshop:
SensorUp supplies all the parts needed to assemble your device. We also supply IoT and Smart Cities experts to walk you through assembly and network (wifi) connection. We’ll explain everything you need to know about the hardware,network, and software, and help you whenever needed.
You’ll go home with a completely assembled device, and knowing exactly how to connect to your home wifi. You’ll get a take-home guide that walks you through the process. You’ll also know our team, and have our contact information, so you can talk to us any time you have a question about your device or the program.
When you volunteer, you get:
As a volunteer, you get a ticket to the workshop, where you’ll also get access to world-leading experts in IoT and smart cities. Our experts will help our volunteers assemble their devices, check them, and then connect them to the network.
Volunteers also get ongoing access to our expert team for troubleshooting and support. Best of all, volunteers get to be part of a Canada-wide, citizen-led smart cities initiative, which will produce a valuable public resource of air quality data.
Volunteers will learn through hands-on experience about smart cities, IoT, and the cutting-edge technology that makes it all possible.
(We’ll never display or disclose your home location, and your location is not stored in the database.)
(1) Good sensor location:
(2) Willingness to engage with the technology
Ongoing sensor maintenance
Once your sensor is plugged in at home, and connected to your wifi, you can just leave it. The sensor should deal with any power outages or wifi interruptions by reconnecting itself. If something does happen, normally all you need to do is power cycle the device. That means, unplug and then plug back in. It takes about 10 seconds. If you change your wifi provider, network name, or password, or if power cycling doesn’t work, you’ll simply need to go through the reconnection steps again. Don’t worry, we’ll provide you with a take-home guide that walks you through the process. The whole process takes a couple minutes.