SenseMyStreet is a toolkit developed in collaboration between Open Lab and Urban Observatory at Newcastle University. The toolkit enables local people and communities to commission sensors and locate them on their streets, collecting evidence to inform or even change their communities. For the first time, the public has access to precision sensing equipment to enable them to gather data, that is relevant to their local issues.
SenseMyStreet community sensing
The project enables you to use hand-held sensors and a mobile application to collect data about environmental issues in your area. Collecting environmental readings alongside your opinions of your local streets help identify and target areas that would benefit from further monitoring from stationary environmental monitors installed by Urban Observatory.
What is the research about?
This research aims to understand the processes linked to operating a sustainable sensor commissioning toolkit for citizens. Through this work we will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with developing a transparent sensor commissioning toolkit, which allows people to collect, share, explore and purpose data collected using high precision environmental sensors. This toolkit aims to give communities and citizens the power to gather data relevant to issues that are important to them at a very local scale.
What do I need to do?
To participate, we ask you to sign up for doing environmental monitoring with a hand-held sensor and a mobile application in your area.
How will data be used and stored?
We will treat data that you provide in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. This means that any personal information stored in physical format (paper, readily playable recordings) will be stored in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office on Newcastle University premises. Any personal information stored electronically will be stored on a secure, password-protected server. Any personal information that is transported electronically on a mobile device (a laptop or memory stick) will be encrypted and/or password-protected.
The information collected will be used to inform the development of further research and may be included in publications, presentations and PhD theses. Only anonymised information will be retained indefinitely for ongoing research purposes.
Any information collected from you will be treated with confidentiality. This means that only the research team and you will have access to any raw information that can be specifically associated with you unless you share it with others using the system. Any information that is shared beyond this team will be made anonymous. This means that details of your name will be removed, and a pseudonym will be used instead. This will apply to any publications or presentations or any discussion with other colleagues in the University.
However, any environmental data collected by you or the community will be published using open licences on Urban Observatory and SenseMyStreet dashboards.
Are there any risks?
The risks of participating in this study are minimal. However, despite concealing your name, there is a risk that you may be identifiable from the information provided in interviews by those who know you personally and information about your activities may be identifiable by those, such as your immediate neighbours and friends, who see the study taking place. In this case, the impact on you is likely to be negligible since the study does not aim to explore any particularly sensitive topics.
In relation to the sensors and location information recorded, we realise that you may have concerns over your privacy. We will take appropriate security measures to ensure that others do not inadvertently access the raw data. To reduce the risk posed by inadvertent access, we will ensure, as far as possible, that the collected data is not explicitly linked to identity.
Can I withdraw?
Participation in this project is entirely voluntary. You may withdraw at any point and you need not give a reason. If you request, any of your data collected up until that point will be destroyed. Your continued participation in the study should be as informed as any initial consent, so you should feel free to ask for clarification or new information throughout.
What if I have question?
If you have any further queries please feel free to contact Aare Puussaar at
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About the Researchers
This research started as a PhD project in Open Lab (OL) at Newcastle University. Now the research team is spread across Newcastle (NU) and Northumbria University (UNN). We are collaborating with Urban Observatory (UO) at Newcastle University. It is funded by a research grant from the the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).
Aare Puussaar (UNN)
Kyle Montague (UNN)
Prof Philip James (UO)
Dr Jennine Jonczyk (Research Associate, UO)
Prof Peter Wright (OL)
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