Speaking at SC17 in Denver this week, a panel of smart city practitioners shared the strategies, techniques and technologies they use to understand their cities better and to improve the lives of their residents. With data coming in from all over the urban landscape and worked over by machine learning algorithms, Debra Lam, managing director for smart cities & inclusive innovation at Georgia Tech who works on strategies for Atlanta and the surrounding area, said “we’ve embedded research and development into city operations, we’ve formed a match making exercise between the needs of the city coupled with the most advanced research techniques.”
Panel moderator Charlie Cattlett, director, urban center for computation & data Argonne National Laboratory who works on smart city strategies for Chicago, said that the scale of data involved in complex, long-term modeling will require nothing less than the most powerful supercomputers, including the next generation of exascale systems under development within the Department of Energy. The vision for exascale, he said, is to build “a framework for different computation models to be coupled together in multiple scales to look at long-range forecasting for cities.”
Researchers at the Urban Center for Computation and Data, an initiative by the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, have developed equipment that is being posted on light poles around the city to provide granular details about air quality, traffic, sound volume and temperature.
After working out glitches with the electronics and redesigning protective enclosures for the devices, dubbed the Array of Things, the scientists are planning to have 500 monitors up and running by the end of next year.
Charlie Catlett, a data scientist who directs the project, said the goal is to provide researchers and the public with new kinds of data that can be used to improve quality of life. The latest version of the monitors is designed to make it easier to add new technology as the field improves and expands.
Chicago is ahead of the curve in its effort to use sensors to track traffic conditions. Chicago's Array of Things project posts sensors above many of the city's intersections to track air quality and traffic conditions on a block-by-block level.
The project is an early example of how cities will leverage data to better serve citizens.
At Lane Tech High School over the past year, more than 150 students accessed real-time data from some 500 sensors in order to learn about problem solving, design, measurement, data analysis, the scientific process and teamwork. Thanks to the “Array of Things” — a partnership of private-sector leaders, the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory — there is great hope that this program will continue at Lane Tech and even expand throughout Chicago.
Let’s consider what would happen if that expansion were sped up. What if tomorrow Chicago’s approximately 500,000 students all had access to such a program? What if there were a million or more sensors involved in collecting data that could be used to address a wide array of civic challenges? How could children on the West Side conduct experiments with sensors from schools on the lakefront through a connected network? Where would data be stored, secured and shared so that residents anywhere in the city could participate in creating solutions? What kinds of dashboards could be created to share the findings?
Source: Brittnay Micek, Carto
Chicago, is the latest city to crack the syntax of smart cities and hack the Internet of Things. Instead of focusing on data to quantify individual productivity and activity, the city has partnered with researchers to analyze sensor-collected data to measure the City by the Lake’s “fitness.”
Dubbed the Array of Things (AoT), a network of interactive, modular sensors, is collecting new streams of data on environment, infrastructure, and activity. This hyper-local, open data can help researchers, city officials, and software developers study and address critical city challenges, such as flood prevention, traffic safety, air quality, and availability to civic services.
Source: NBC Chicago
NBC5's Charlie Wojciechowski talks with the City of Chicago's Chief Information Officer Brenna Berman about a bold experiment that uses sensors around the city to collect data.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
As one of America’s largest cities, Chicago has a unique personality wholly original to itself. To help achieve a better understanding of the Windy City’s character and temperament, Charlie Catlett — the Director of Urban Center for Computation and Data at Argonne National Laboratory — decided “why not outfit the city with an abundance of sensors to track its every move?”
By taking advantage of the city’s impending investment in new streetlights this past year, Catlett’s innovative vision recently came to life this week as Chicago began installing the revolutionary sensors. Dubbed the Array of Things, Catlett’s initiative should provide an unprecedented snapshot of Chicago.
Source: Patrick Sisson, Curbed
A new high-tech network that collects street-level city data will make the Midwest metropolis the City of Big Sensors
Alert Chicagoans may have already spotted the strange bundles of wires and gear on a growing number of light poles across the city. Designed to mimic the shape of weather stations, these odd additions to the streetscape look a little bit like stacks of white plastic ashtrays. But these sensors, packed with tools to collect data about environmental conditions, represent the future of urban research. Chicago’s Array of Things, an ambitious vision to collect and share city data on a micro and macro level, and potentially reshape how we formulate urban policy, is now live.
SOURCE: Whet Moser, Chicago Magazine
Last week, two small white fixtures, each a bit bigger than a human head and looking like an upside-down stack of Tupperware bowls, were mounted on lightpoles at Damen and Cermak and Damen and Archer. Inside the fixtures are environmental sensors, designed to measure air quality, weather conditions, light, vibration, and magnetic fields, plus a microphone for detecting decibel levels and a camera capturing still frames. (A Bluetooth modem that caused some concern a while back has been scrapped.) Small Linux-based computers process the data and pass it on to Argonne National Laboratory.
Chicago this week began deploying sensors on light poles to monitor, photograph and listen to the city. The effort is costing as much as $7 million, and may be the largest urban data collection of its kind once all 500 nodes are in place.
The beehive-shaped nodes have an array of sensors with enough onboard computing capability to conduct data processing on the device and minimize the amount of bandwidth needed to transmit data.