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Saturday, August 14 • 8:30am - 8:50am
How urban sensing can improve navigation systems for pedestrians?

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The development of ICT together with the Big Data Movement have designated urban sensing technologies and Internet of Things solutions. When applied in the city, these technologies convert the urban elements, the “things”, into interconnected and monitored dots, capable of generating real time data. Afterall, the city has become an open lab, a matrix of territorial data.
Currently, many IoT solutions and urban sensing projects are being developed as an alternative to face future challenges of complex modern problems. There are projects on a large scale, such as Array of Things (Available at: https://arrayofthings.github.io/l), in Chicago. Or even projects inserted in the DIY culture, such as the Smart Citizen Kit ( https://fablabbcn.org/projects/smart-citizen) and the Frackbox (https://citizensense.net/kits/frackbox-hardware/). Even the smartphones, social medias and Mobile Crowd Sensing techniques have opened space to monitor and collect urban data.
So clearly urban data is already a reality from our cities and databases are well sustained. So now what is the plan? This research focuses on how to improve navigation systems for pedestrians based on real time urban data.
Navigation apps such as Google Maps, Citymapper, Here We Go etc. are well known in modern daily life. Such tools were firstly developed to help motor vehicle traffic. Therefore, their routes are planned based on time and distance information, related to the drive speed. Later, navigation systems have inserted routes for other types of mobility, such as bicycles and pedestrians. Nowadays, these tools have become essential for pedestrian spatial orientation in the city. However, do they calculate routes that match with the pedestrians' necessity and preferences? Are time and distance information sufficient to plan a pleasant and safe route for pedestrians?
Based on these questions, urban sensing and IoT applications could provide relevant data introduced as new information filters on navigation systems. For instance, real time data about air quality, noise level and even flood risks could be introduced as new types of information to calculate a route in the navigation system and improve the journey experience.
Eventually, to improve navigation system usability would affect all types of modalities. Still, this research intends to focus on pedestrian routes, since walking becomes more relevant as an accessible, sustainable and beneficial mode of transport for the community. In other words, navigation systems could encourage active mobility in contemporary and digital cities.
Therefore, this research raises the debate around urban data and navigation systems for pedestrians. As the research is currently in progress, I pretend to suggest some significant urban data used in navigation systems and digital cartography today. As part of the analyses, I would exhibit different projects cases such as Google Maps improvements over the past years, or apps like PlumeLabs (https://plumelabs.com/en/air/>) and Likeways (http://www.likeways.net/), also some projects from MIT SenseABLE City Lab (https://senseable.mit.edu/), such as Rome in Real Time and Desirable Streets, and projects from the The Good City Life (http://goodcitylife.org/).

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Saturday August 14, 2021 8:30am - 8:50am EDT
Fab City Summit