The Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring The Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring

The Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring

by Francisco Zabala

June 2, 2013

This citizen-led approach, dubbed the Smart Citizen project, fosters public participation in the process of monitoring the environment. Once enough of these devices are online, we as a community will be able to answer questions such as whether to go for a short or long run based on the current air quality; have a good sense of noise levels in a potential new neighborhood; and, even find the best spot in the backyard for placing highly light-sensitive plants.     

Though the inexpensive sensors on the Smart Citizen Kit tend to be of limited precision, having a distributed network of these devices provides unparalleled spatial resolution. As an independent set of measurement devices, the information they provide is highly useful.  However, their fullest potential is reached when they’re used to compliment the data collected by traditional sources of environmental monitoring. And the true value of this effort is providing a tool for citizens to participate in environmental monitoring. We expect, as a direct result, the start of conscientious efforts to tackle some of the current problems.

After three years of research and development, the Smart Citizen project has deployed as a proof-of-concept in the city of Barcelona, Spain, where 150 users are reporting data to the online servers. Based on its initial success, the Smart Citizen team is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where we're raising funds to purchase hardware components in large quantities so as to offer the Smart Citizen Kits at the lowest possible price, complete a smartphone app with additional features to interact with the hardware, and finalize a 3D-printable, resilient enclosure. Please consider supporting our campaign.

Images courtesy of Acrobotic Industries 

This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

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The Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring