This week in Chicago, the Array of Things team begins the first phase of the groundbreaking urban sensing project, installing the first of an eventual 500 nodes on city streets. By measuring data on air quality, climate, traffic and other urban features, these pilot nodes kick off an innovative partnership between the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and the City of Chicago to better understand, serve, and improve cities.
UrbanCCD Director and Computation Institute Senior Fellow Charlie Catlett was named one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology. The honor celebrates his work creating partnerships between Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago, and the City of Chicago on innovative projects such as Array of Things, Plenario, and OpenGrid.
OpenGrid, a new website and mobile app that maps and visualizes city data for Chicago residents, was announced and released today by the City of Chicago. The project, funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, was built in partnership with researchers at the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data and uses their Plenario open data platform.
This month's announcement of a $3.1 million National Science Foundation for Array of Things inspired a wave of enthusiastic coverage about the urban sensing project. The plan to install 500 sensor nodes, collecting data on Chicago's environment, infrastructure, and activity, was touted as an important step towards creating a "smart city," boosting data-driven public policy and community engagement.
The University of Chicago announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded a $3.1 million grant to support the development of Array of Things, an urban sensing instrument that will serve as a fitness tracker for the city. Starting next year, 500 Array of Things (AoT) nodes will measure data on Chicago’s environment, infrastructure and activity to scientifically investigate solutions to urban challenges ranging from air quality to urban flooding.
Last winter, a crew from the BBC's technology program Click visited Chicago to learn more about the Array of Things, the Urban Center for Computation and Data city-wide sensor network project. Reporter Marc Cieslak went to Argonne National Laboratory, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation's "City of Big Data" exhibit to profile the technology, design, and potential of the project, which hopes to install hundreds of sensor nodes around the city over the next three years.
When people talk about the current tech boom, it usually conjures up images of phone apps, social media networks, and startups with one-word names. But inside the public sector, a quieter tech revolution stirs, as governments increasingly recognize the power of data to help them serve their constituents more effectively. This trend creates a new kind of skills gap, as governments look for people with both the technical skills and civic motivation to analyze data and build tools for internal and external use.
The cities and urban developments of the future will dwarf what architects and city planners have done in the past, creating an urgent need for new large-scale tools and approaches. Lakesim, one of the first projects of the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data seeks to address this need, combining modern design tools with scientific supercomputing to create a new platform for testing and modifying different plans.