Civic Hacking Project Ideas

Hey everyone, especially people who are into software/IoT projects, here are some potentially cool ideas and/or developments we could potentially leverage into something interesting here:

  1. Augmented reality: coming to a city near you - The use of augmented reality to show all kinds of vital information about services and surroundings is here. One such example is at I’m sure there are a lot of interesting applications for this besides transit info. It could provide property values, crime rates, etc., and could be very powerful if mixed with beacons.
  2. Situational maps - Apps that provide coordination for first responders by allowing for sharing map data. Granted, obviously someone’s already working on this, but you should be aware this is going to be a thing.
  3. Targeting emergency alerts where they’re needed most - This article discusses ASLAT (Arbitrary-Size Location-Aware Targeting) which basically means you’ll no longer be pestered with flash flood warnings from Grayson County unless you’re there or going that way. I could have sworn @hykkonen said it was called something different last time we spoke of this (at least from the National Weather Service perspective) but I can’t seem to remember it. I’m still concerned that people engrossed in their streaming media services aren’t getting emergency advisories properly.

And now, for one that really hits home: Those of you concerned with all the fracking going on around here and keeping tabs on those putting quick profits before proper process and public safety might be interested in this idea posted to Facebook’s Data Libre DFW group by our own @steevithak:

There are problems with emissions of methane and other air pollutants from fracking wells, mostly in Arlington but also in Irving (at DFW airport). While we have a well-established citizen science program to monitor water quality in Texas (the Texas Stream Team program), there’s no equivalent for air quality.

So how’s this for a civic hacking / maker project: create a kit that can be used by an average citizen to monitor air quality and automatically report the data via the Internet to an open data storage server, which can then be used by civic hackers to build air quality maps and metrics to show where and how bad pollution is at any given time. I’m imagining some kind of self-contained, solar powered, sensor array that could be stuck on a pole in a back yard and monitor air temp, wind speed, humidity (basic weather stuff) plus levels of methane, co2, o2, etc.

This could be the perfect way to put the Cassandra DB training I had today to practice. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in any of these projects or some of your own ideas, please join us at the next Civic Hacking meeting (stay tuned for date/time).