We are facing massive environmental crises that are intertwined with our current way of consumption and living. The complexity and scale of these problems can be disempowering, making individual positive action seem directionless and futile.
However, we can take appropriate action and measure the difference we make by using data to understand our environment, to help build evidence-based arguments for change and to hold people to account – whether it’s through seeing the impact of switching electrical devices off (and not leaving them on standby), understanding the air pollution around us so that we can make more environmentally sound choices, or by making sure our waste is recycled appropriately.
This month we’re showcasing initiatives that are using data to help the environment through tracking waste, energy monitoring and pollution, with presentations from:
In the second event of our “So you think you know your country” series we look at land and property ownership, public space and rights of way with Guy Shrubsole and Morag Rose.
Our towns and cities often have a complex patchwork of rights and ownership associated with them. Rights of way are often undefined, public space is contested and ownership of land hidden behind secretive shell companies and investment vehicles. The release of data from the Land Registry last year cast light on patterns of ownership across England. This data has been mapped and explored by Anna Powell-Smith and Guy Shrubsole – Who owns England? https://whoownsengland.org/2017/11/14/the-companies-corporate-bodies-who-own-a-third-of-england-wales/
Within this complex interplay of rights, ownership and access exists the experience of the city — for the people are the city¹ — and it is through the human stories and experience that the city comes to life. The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) http://www.thelrm.org/index is a Manchester based collective of artists, activists and urban wanderers interested in psychogeography, public space and the hidden stories of the city. LRM founder Morag Rose recently completed her thesis on women’s experiences of walking in Manchester.
Sensors and the Internet of Things have the ability to transform the way we manage infrastructure. Open Data Manchester in partnership with Sensorstream Ltd and Things Manchester in collaboration with Rennes Metropole is exploring how data from sensors can be collected, analysed and released as open data.
This workshop should interest building owners and managers, city officials, IoT technologists, open data activists, data governance and privacy specialists and anyone interested in how data derived from sensors can be shared.
Areas of discussion:
Overview of technologies being used for monitoring buildings – using as an example a pilot LoRaWAN sensor network being implemented in Manchester and programmes taking place in Rennes.
Can the sharing of sensor data help save money and make our cities more efficient and environmentally sustainable?
What are the risks of sharing and how can they be mitigated against?
How can data be licensed as open data?
Can we create a consent framework to allow data to be released?
The Knowable Building Framework is developing an open source internet of things consent framework for monitoring the performance of older commercial buildings in a non-invasive way using discrete low power sensors, and if appropriate publishing the data from these sensors as open data. Unlike modern stock, older buildings often fall behind as far as the utilisation of new technology is concerned. Many landlords undertake a certain amount of retrofitting such as zonal heating or movement detection systems but these tend to be ad hoc and unconnected, with no ability to monitor how effectively these systems are working either singly or together. The internet of things and the analysis of data derived from sensors can give landlords, building management and tenants insight into the performance of buildings, enabling adaptations that can be economically and environmentally beneficial, whilst also creating opportunities for behaviour change within those buildings. The sharing of performance data as open data can also have benefits for mapping energy usage and demand within cities as well as creating a debate about responsible energy consumption.
Open Data Manchester working with Sensorstream Ltd and Things Manchester is developing a platform for gathering, analysing and sharing insight from sensors within buildings.
The Knowable Building Framework is an Internet of Things framework for monitoring the performance of older commercial buildings in a non-invasive way using discrete low power sensors, and if appropriate publishing this data as open data. Unlike modern stock, older buildings often fall behind as far as the utilisation of new technology is concerned. Many landlords undertake a certain amount of retrofitting such as zonal heating or movement detection systems but these tend to be ad hoc and unconnected, with no ability to monitor how effectively these systems are working either singly or together. The internet of things and the analysis of data derived from sensors can give landlords, building management and tenants insight into the performance of buildings, enabling adaptations that can be economically and environmentally beneficial, whilst also creating opportunities for behaviour change within those buildings.
The initiative will harness the connectivity of the public Things Network, that covers a large proportion of Greater Manchester and across the North, and will allow the project team to design and connect sensors and analytics platforms seamlessly to the internet. The power of the project will come from the ability to share an appropriate amount of data across portfolios of buildings and also to the wider community as open data, enabling insight to be gathered across the city. This will have the further benefit of not only measuring building performance but connecting other sensor data as as well.
It is a collaboration with the City of Rennes in Brittany, seen as a centre of excellence regarding the development of Low Power Wide Area Networks and open data, and is funded through the Open Data Institute.
We will be running a workshops in Rennes and Manchester with building owners and technologists in January and February, to understand how better to design and implement the framework. If you would like to be involved, email us at hello [a] opendatamanchester.org.uk
From last night’s planning meeting we now have a provisional programme for 2017 and it is quite an ambitious one. What is great from our perspective is that there is a continuation of a number of themes that we have been looking at over the last year and a resurfacing of perennial ones. Highlights include the ‘making and doing’ workshops that have been developed as part of the Echo Chambers and ‘Post-Fact’ Politics programme and the Visualising Data workshops. There are a number of sector and technically specific events but one to watch out for is alternative ways of looking at the world which will be a day of walks, talks and explorations. As always there is a large dose of how data and technology impact on society and much more.
This is a provisional programme and we are looking for as much input as possible (Dates and sessions are subject to change). Please click on the Google Doc and add comments. We are looking for people who can contribute, sponsors, venues and partners.
If you believe some of the tech press 2016 is the year that the Internet of Things will take over – billions of devices will become connected and our lives will be free from the drudgery of turning things on and off again. Beyond the hype IoT is connected sensors, actuators and machines that can be communicate over a data infrastructure. Like the internet, the data infrastructure is a critical component which is generally owned and operated by large telecommunication providers. Things Manchester is part of The Things Network founded in Amsterdam and aims to create a crowdsourced, open and free IoT data infrastructure for Greater Manchester and beyond.
Things Manchester will introduce the project and how you can get involved.
The last few months have seen unprecedented rainfall across the north of the UK. Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria bore the brunt of the flooding with bridges swept away, town centres flooded and buildings inundated. ODI Leeds is running a Flood Hack event that will encourage the development of new ideas around flood warnings and prevention. Having access to open data and an open IoT infrastructure is key to this development. The team who are developing Flood Hack will introduce the event and what can be expected and how you can participate
There has been a lot of emphasis in the open data movement on access to data that shines a light on the workings of government or allows the creation of mobility applications. Data that gives us insight into the environment in which we live, work and play tends to be little used yet offers huge potential in enabling people to understand and act on local environmental issues.
The Freedom of Information Act giving people the right to data that public bodies hold is well known but there is little understanding of legislation that gives people the right to access environmental data. The Environmental Information Regulations give people the power to ask for data on a host of environmental issues, yet unlike their FOIA cousins are under-utilised. Is it that EIR is too complex and little understood or is it that the data that is held is incomplete or difficult to use?
In mitigation of this there is a growing army of people who are taking matters into their own hands be exploring, mapping and creating environmental data that is more relevant to their communities. Low cost ‘easy to use’ sensors can be deployed , networked, fitted to smart phones and the data aggregated to provide a more comprehensive picture of our environment.
This months Open Data Manchester is a chance to look at some of the initiatives that have been taking place recently. It will be an opportunity to discuss why we need access to environmental data and how people can come together to map their own communities.