In 2014 Peterborough decided to launch a “smart city” initiative, part of which involved contracting ScienceScope to install 25 air quality weather stations in schools across the city. Not only does the project allow schools to benefit from having their own weather station and the enhancement that brings to education, but, as the data is freely available, it can be used for a range of other purposes. The council’s environment team, for example, hope to use the data for their own analysis of rain fall and pollution levels in the city.
Installing the weather stations, however, is the tip of the iceberg in terms of exploring the potential of smart cities. As time goes on the data could be used for any number of research projects to help understand the city’s environment better. For instance, it has often been hypothesized that crime levels are affected by weather patterns, e.g. when it is hot burglaries increase because people have their windows open and so on. Now with the weather stations gathering data across the city it will be possible to test such ideas analysing the data in comparison with city crime statistics.
The Peterborough Project is our second Internet of Things project in the UK. ScienceScope was part of the pioneering Project Distance, funded by Innovate UK, which introduced the concept of the Internet of Things to the educational arena. The Peterborough weather stations, however, feature a number of enhancements including the much more accurate Casella rain gauges. They are also equipped with nitrogen dioxide, VOC, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide sensors to enable comprehensive data to be gathered on air quality. All of the sensor data can be viewed in the Distance Exploratory, our Internet of School Things cloud-based data hub.