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It was a fairly busy day, the first of a three day conference in Lake Louise, Canada. The weather was brilliant, the views amazing and the tables had table cloth on. Already the opening has been visited in good numbers and so did the sessions.

The first keynote by Ken Lindmark focused on a local project, a elaborate model for the city of Calgary forecasting scenarios for a 60 year period. A number of the local people were involved with this project. The setting for the model was very large and looking far outside the city boundaries in order to create a fairly accurate picture of the traffic and commute volumes.

As things go and different interests colide, the actual report coming out of the study was reduced to the city boundaries dramatically limiting the models capacity. But still the city of Calgary now has a decent plan for the future for its mobility. For details see plan|it|Calgary.

RealTime Rome
Image taken form Sensable City lab / RealTime Rome project visualising sensor data.

Kristian Kloeckl from the MIT Sensable City lab presented the work he had done with his colleagues on the Live Singapore project. A very ambitious data visualisation project covering the whole country state in real time. They are extending on previous projects such as RealTime Rome and WikiCity Rome.

For the Singapore version the team is aiming to develop a very flexible platform capable of handling many hundreds of independent data sources at a speeds of up to 300 updates per second. The concept is to only provide the platform, but not to host the data. This simplifies the ownership and responsibility requirements as well as the infrastructure load. Its really the engine and not a data repository.

This allows for a lot of flexibility and the team to focus on questions beyond the data management. For example the interesting bit is not the data but how the different data streams are combined and how the services are used. The project will log these details and there is a lot of capacity to learn from the usage details where real value can be generated.

Currently the test model is running with real time mobile hone data, real time Taxi GPS data (from 16’000 taxis), real time shipment data, real time airport traffic data as well as real time electricity consumption for industry and business. This is possible through partnerships with a range of high profile companies based in Singapore.

Erik Kjems presented the project of a 3D Model used as a User-Interface for energy system modeling. There was some interesting approaches to visualise scenarios based around the options of future energy solutions for the city of Copenhagen. The cit was rebuilt in 3D were each module was capable of processing information and transform according to the scenario settings. User were able to put power plants an windfarms and watch their city transform.

Peter Zeile and Antonio Nelson da Silva discussed their collaboration for a Smart Sensoring prototype supporting barrier free planning. The sensing is measuring individual stress levels via skin conductance, also known as galvanic skin response (GSR). The concept is very similar to some of Christina Nolde’s Bio Mapping and Emotional Cartography projects.

RealTime Rome
Image taken form CPE TU Kaiserslautern / COncept sketches and prototype of the Smart Sensor and GPS.

The group at University of Kaiserslautern has developed a wristband that monitors and records the stress levels and is in sync with a GPS. The project focus is on detection of excluding barriers in urban contexts for a variety of disabilities. The current wrist band prototype is still quite expensive at about €1000, but could be optimised for the use in a scaled up study. Also they are currently working on a mobile phone connected version of the tool. It will be Android based and transmit the GSR levels to a central data strage.

Simona Sofronie from PHL University College in Hassel, Belgium discussing the project ‘An Ubiquitous Urban Game’ she is developing for her PhD. The project is based around GPS tracking of individuals adding a group task feature to foster experimenting with spatial navigation and questioning of established routines. See her presentation below.

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It was a great day with a lot to talk about later on during dinner. Looking forward to two other days of great inspirational talks.

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