The University of Birmingham has joined the Urban Observatory project to collect information on the UK’s urban environments.
The £12m project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and led by Newcastle University, has already been rolled out in Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol, where well over a billion records have been collected in the first two years. Manchester and Cranfield have also joined the project.
Researchers at Birmingham will gather information from a range of existing and new sensors put in place across the city, measuring over 60 different indicators.
Data will be gathered from 25 meteorological stations, around 100 temperature sensors, subsurface acoustic sensors and the West Midlands Air Quality Improvement Programme (WM-Air). New sensors are being deployed to measure energy use, traffic flow, social media activity, soil, water quality, sewage and wildlife.
Sensing technologies are developing rapidly, as is the ability to manage and make use of the vast amounts of data they can produce.
– Prof Lee Chapman, Birminham Urban Observatory
Prof Lee Chapman, leader of the Birmingham Urban Observatory, says: “Sensing technologies are developing rapidly, as is the ability to manage and make use of the vast amounts of data they can produce. By drawing all these things together, we will gain hugely valuable insights that will provide the fundamental building blocks for the cities of tomorrow.”
The City Observatory Research platfOrm for iNnovation and Analytics (CORONA) brings together a team of researchers to demonstrate how urban observatories can provide new information on how cities develop. CORONA uses advances in ‘smart city’ technologies and the Internet of Things to power the observatories. The data is collected and collated using cloud platforms – information is made freely available via the platform.
CORONA is led by the UK Collaboratorium For Research on Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) which will use the data to set research objectives.