participatory sensing

Participatory sensing is the concept of communities (or other groups of people) contributing sensory information to form a body of knowledge.

 

GammaSense develops a citizens measurement network to measure gamma radiation.

 

What about the various citizens' initiatives to measure air quality in the Netherlands? Stefano Bocconi attended a recent meeting of the RIVM.

 

We talk to people of Amsterdam who have a short or long time experience with measuring particulate matter (PM) at home. This time: Nico van Gog.

 

On 22 June, during the WeMakeThe.City festival in Amsterdam, another STARTS Talk was organised. Lucas Evers reports.

 

The first online platform to let children build their own sensors, Smart Kids Lab, is now also available in English. In this way children, at home or school, can learn in a playful way to measure their surroundings.

 

The Making Sense-team has published the book 'Citizen Sensing, a toolkit', which describes all methods, lessons and best practices.

 

On the Wednesday before Xmas, an enthusiastic group of people gathered at the Waag to assemble an air quality sensor, together with the national RIVM institute.

 

To improve the air quality in the Valkenburgerstraat, the city of Amsterdam will start a trial in March next year with eight so-called CityTrees.

 

The developers of GammaSense believe that citizens should have at home the tools and means to monitor radiation levels. Immediately, inexpensively and with a fair level of accuracy.

 

500 Amsterdammers are measuring the water quality in Amsterdam this summer. For this purpose they are equipped with a Waterbox to perform several tests. Together they will chart the water quality in the city.

 

At Waag we don’t encounter with architects that often. So the chance to visit REsite festival in Prague that discusses the future of the city with architects on stage, in the crowd and even future architects in the organization was a great opportunity.

 

Why should you measure, when there is nothing to measure? This was the central question at the third meeting in our Making Sense pilot in measuring gamma radiation.

 

What if you could measure nuclear radiation with the camera in your laptop or smartphone? Living near a nuclear power plant, you might take this opportunity very serious.

 

Since the start of the Smart Kids Lab pilot at three elementary schools in Amsterdam, the Smart Citizen Kit made its first appearance at these schools. The citizen sensor is able to measure al sorts of environmental factors such as air quality, noise pollution and temperature.

 

A smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC with a webcam are in principle suitable to measure gamma radiation. This works best when you cover the camera lens with something that completely blacks all light out, like for instance aluminium foil covered with black tape or alumnium tape.

 

Every year at New Year's Eve, a lot of firework is set off to celebrate the coming year. This produces a large amount of particulated matter (PM10/PM2,5). But what we do not know is exactly how much, and how long it takes before it dissappears from our streets.

 

In the last few years, several interesting smart citizen projects have seen the light. Waag has been following these developments closely and has been partnering with Fab Lab Barcelona, for instance, in the implementation of the Smart Citizen Kit. This Arduino-based connector platform has made it easier to connect new sensors to the Internet in order to create more transparency for citizens about the quality of their environment.

 

What if you can combine the experience from the maker movement to create open source hardware and software to map environmental issues that concern citizens everyday? This blog will show you the process of developing a sensor that was designed to answer questions about air quality from an interested community of citizens.

 

When traveling to Brussels for a European project, the first things that come to my mind are: the city of Brussels has more political layers than citizens; and the European Commission is a bureaucratic top-down institution, which only costs money and decides what we can and can’t do. Some thoughts about the political centre of Europe that a lot of people have. To go to Brussels for a co-creation workshop for the Making Sense project was the ultimate opportunity to get rid of these stubborn preconceptions.

 

12-05-2016

Air quality

The air quality in The Netherlands exceeds European limits. Can a law case help to alter that?

 

The message that Plume Labs (Paris) started measuring the air quality in London with pigeons also reached the Dutch media in the past days. A great campaign, that makes you wonder if it could be repeated in Amsterdam, where we have some pigeons too.

 

In the past five years, the broad availability of open hardware tools, the creation of online data sharing platforms, and access to maker spaces have fostered the design of low cost and open source sensors that independent communities of citizens can appropriate to engage in environmental action.

 

The official Dutch institute that is measuring air quality, RIVM, has made a handy brochure for those interested in measuring air quality themselves, titled 'Meten voor een gezonde stad' (pdf). It explains the role of citizen science and clearly explains what substances have an influence on air quality. It does so in Dutch.

 

Plume Air Report is an app for iOS and Android, that offers insight in the actual air quality in 150+ countries worldwide.

 

Our latest initiative involves mapping the waters of Amsterdam, to know if they are suitable as swimwater. During a meeting of Water Republic 2025 at Pakhuis de Zwijger, the project Amsterdecks and the website Liquid Commons were presented for the first time. Martin Risseeuw and Ivo de Kler at Waag developed the website and the corresponding datavisualisation of the water currents in Amsterdam.

 

In the Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab, we explore tools and applications to map the world around us.

 

In February of this year the experiment in Amsterdam with Smart Citizen Kit started, in which citizens could measure the environment at their own location with affordable electronics and sensors and share the results online in real time. Now it is time to draw the conclusions and we have put all our findings in a final report (that includes a summary in English at the end).

 

On 16 June 2014 we evaluated the results of our experiment with the Smart Citizen Kit in Amsterdam together with the participants.

 

On 13 May 2014 we had Hans Berkhout of RIVM as a guest of the Smart Citizen project in Amsterdam.

 

More than seventy people gathered at the Waag to measure the air quality in the city with the Smart Citizen Kit.