Taarifa is an existing project to create, visualize and share stories/issues between citizens and the government. It allows individuals and groups to reports and work through reports in their own terms using the tools they already have. Taarifa is free and open source software, so anyone can get involved - send reports with images and location data as well as receiving alerts from others who have sent in reports to the site. The possibility of storing reports for later upload, while beeing offline, has been added during this hackathon. This is Taarifa's second appearance at a Rhok event, after the project got kickstarted at the Waterhackathon in London. It demonstrates how a project and a community can grow out of a hackathon into actual deployment.
Specifically at the Southampton RHOK event the team (Nico, David, Sam, Martin, Mark) have worked on developing a sensor visualization system for attaching to Taarifa reports. A prototype sensor has been developed to plug into a USB port and measures the local light intensity (with values between 0 and 1000). With further software development the sensor can be modified to plug directly into the audio jack of a smart phone. The data feed is uploaded to Cosm. A reporting mechanism has been designed to download the sensor data from Cosm directly into a Taarifa report. The sensor data is visualized as a simple time series of the values obtained embedded into a Taarifa report. Circuit boards have been designed to capture measurements for a range of other parameters (eg. air quality, temperature, noise levels). Reports can be generated for up to 6 hours prior to the time of measurement. Cost estimates have been made for bespoke production of all sensors.
This project is been run in parallel with a RHOK global problem:
Nico Weinert: @NicoWeinert (twitter)
David Nellessen: http://davidn.de/ (homepage) @davidn_de (twitter)
Sam Wilkinson: @AngrySpinach (twitter)
Mark Blackwell: @markwblackwell (twitter)
There are a number of useful applications of the sensor reporting system developed. This prototype has focused on developing a light intensity sensor but there are a range of sensors that can be used. It is envisioned that individual small sensor units (approx 30mm x 30mm) will be used to measure a range of parameters (air quality, soil moisture levels etc) and data downloaded directly to the web via a smart phone. Aswell as the mobile application sensors could also be located in fixed positions where required for long term monitoring. Data will then be stored locally on a SD card and uploaded to Taarifa reports when required. Potential problem matches:
- Standing water in the developing world is the source of disease. A sensor to measure the quality of the water (eg. using water colour as a parameter) could be used to highlight problem areas of standing water and sources of disease could be identified and destroyed quicker.
- Soil moisture sensors could be used to assess the quality of agriculture land and used to aid the design of irrigation systems and monitor crop performance
- Air quality sensors (measuring methane, carbon monoxide etc) can be used to improve living standards and develop warning systems for toxic gases.
The system offers the benefits of mobility, multiple sensing, instant reporting and consistent structures.
- Physical build of light intensity sensor (with USB interface)
- Interfacing of data between sensor, Cosm and Taarifa reporting system (including Java Applet)
- Taarifa report with time series visualisation
- cost estimates of full range of remote sensors
- enhancement of Taarifa to allow offline reporting
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-Taarifa is deployed in Uganda, to assist the local government in monitoring the progress of local projects.
- Further deployments are in the pipeline
- plans in place for Taarifa to implement sensor data into reporting mechanisms
- Modify light sensor to use smart phone audio input
- Optimise current circuit board design to reduce size and cost
- Build and test other sensors
- Develop smart phone app for in field reporting
- Generate richer data visualisation tools
- strategy to implement sensors in field (cost/business models etc)
- Circuit board / sensor manufacture
- enhancement of the current Taarifa platform, increase usability
- smart phone app development for the sensor collection