Sensored City

Saturday, October 20, 2007
These content below constitutes a part of the work I did while working as the Manager of Science and Data Policy at Creative Commons. This content is an archive of what used to be on but is no longer available on the web. I have preserved the original content and added more material to them.
Image by Puneet Kishor released under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Citizen-Sourced Data

We routinely submit data to others and then worry about liberating the data from the silos. What if we could invert the model? What if collected data were first put into a completely free and open repository accessible to everyone so anyone could build applications with the data? What if the data itself were free so everyone could have an equal opportunity to create and even monetize their creativity? Funded by a generous grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and with help from the City of Louisville, Kentucky, we are doing just that.

Map © OpenStreetMap contributors used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Partnering with Manylabs, a San Francisco-based sensor tools and education nonprofit, we have designed, developed and installed a network of sensor-based hardware that is collecting environmental information at high temporal and spatial scales and pulling it in a software platform designed explicitly for storing and retrieving such data.

Basic Sensor Kit with Arduino Image © Manylabs used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Further, with the help of Urban Matter, Inc., a Brooklyn-based design studio, we have also designed, created and installed a public data art installation powered by the data we are collecting thereby communicating back to the public what has been collected about them.

Silent Lights Image © Urban Matter, Inc., used with permission.

The art installation will also be showing historic and projected instances of asthma attacks in Louisville neighborhoods using a data model from Propeller Health, maker of a mobile platform for respiratory health management.

All components of the project, the hardware, software, the art design, and of course, the data themselves, everything will be made available for everyone to use under a suitable open license or public domain dedication.