This week in Chicago, the Array of Things team begins the first phase of the groundbreaking urban sensing project, installing the first of an eventual 500 nodes on city streets. By measuring data on air quality, climate, traffic and other urban features, these pilot nodes kick off an innovative partnership between the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and the City of Chicago to better understand, serve, and improve cities.
UrbanCCD Director and Computation Institute Senior Fellow Charlie Catlett was named one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology. The honor celebrates his work creating partnerships between Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago, and the City of Chicago on innovative projects such as Array of Things, Plenario, and OpenGrid.
This month's announcement of a $3.1 million National Science Foundation for Array of Things inspired a wave of enthusiastic coverage about the urban sensing project. The plan to install 500 sensor nodes, collecting data on Chicago's environment, infrastructure, and activity, was touted as an important step towards creating a "smart city," boosting data-driven public policy and community engagement.
The University of Chicago announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded a $3.1 million grant to support the development of Array of Things, an urban sensing instrument that will serve as a fitness tracker for the city. Starting next year, 500 Array of Things (AoT) nodes will measure data on Chicago’s environment, infrastructure and activity to scientifically investigate solutions to urban challenges ranging from air quality to urban flooding.
UPDATE: Array of Things has been nominated for the Cooper Hewitt People's Design Award! Vote here until October 6th.
Many people now wear wristbands or other devices to track their activity, giving them access to rich data about their daily routine that can help guide them towards healthier decisions and behaviors. The ambitious Array of Things project, led by the Urban Center for Computation and Data, seeks to create a similar bounty of data to better understand the environment, infrastructure, and activity of cities, creating a new public instrument for research, education, and applications that improve the lives of city residents.
The open release of city data has given residents exciting new ways of interacting with and benefiting from the information collected by city agencies. But what if there was a way to collect even broader, higher-resolution data on the daily life of the city, providing a massive stream of open data for research and the development of new applications to improve urban life? The Array of Things is a project of the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) to deploy interactive, modular sensor boxes around Chicago to collect real-time data on the city’s environment, infrastructure, and motion for research and public use. While the first nodes won't be installed along Michigan Avenue until later this summer, the media has seized upon the idea as an exciting new way of "instrumenting" a city for the greater good.
The movement towards open data from city governments has inspired the development of new methods for data analysis. But what about new methods for the collection of data? Beginning this summer, the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data will work with the City of Chicago to install 30 to 50 "sensor nodes" on light poles in the downtown area, giving researchers and the community new streams of information on climate, traffic, city infrastructure, and other facets of city life.