Research Project: People as Sensors and Collective Sensing
People as Sensors and Collective Sensing – Real-time Geo-Analysis and Visualisation of Urban Processes
Ubiquitous sensor networks and can potentially assist in taking decisions in near real time in a variety of application areas such as public safety, traffic management, environmental monitoring, energy infrastructure management, urban planning or in public health. Yet, analysing our surroundings in real time is still a major challenge due to sparsely available data sources for real-time monitoring. One reason for this situation is that ambient and continuous monitoring is an enormous challenge, and this is particularly true in the urban context, which poses very specific challenges. These comprise well-known technological questions, but also significant methodological, economical, social and political ones.
Thus, we need to find alternative innovative methods to sense urban geo-processes and to gain knowledge about urban dynamics. New methods comprise People as Sensors (people contributing subjective observations), Collective Sensing (analysing aggregated anonymised data coming from collective networks) and Citizen Science (exploiting and elevating expertise of citizens and their personal, local experiences).
The overall goal of this proposal is twofold. Firstly, know-how in the area of analysing and visualising dynamic geo-processes in real time shall be acquired and shared between the involved parties. Secondly, the gained knowledge shall be bundled at University of Heidelberg’s “Live Geography” research group to provide a basis for further common research initiatives. To achieve this goal, three distinct objectives in closely linked research areas are defined: 1.) the enhancement of geo-analysis and visualisation techniques for urban dynamics in real time; 2.) the dynamic exploratory analysis and representation of spatio-temporal geographic processes; 3.) the creation of generic methods for the analysis of real-time data in GIS environments.