CACM about "urban sensing"

Urban sensing: out of the woods is a paper by Dana Cuff, Mark Hansen, Jerry Kang that deals with embedded networked sensing that successfully shifted from the lab to the environment. Some excerpts I found interesting:

"urban sensing shifts focus and control away from the scientist at the center. We can anticipate new forms of science built from large-scale citizen-initiated data collection. Data will also be collected, then interpreted, in ad hoc ways by everyday citizens going about their daily lives. (...) There are at least two concerns: bad data processing and the "observer effect." First, when amateurs collect data through cheap, unverified, uncalibrated sensors, the immediate fear is "junk data." (...) Second, observation generally and surveillance specifically alters human behavior. (...) The data commons and citizen-initiated sensing will provide answers, pose new questions, and open new opportunities for public discourse.(...) urban sensing has the potential to generate a "data commons." By this, we mean a data repository generated through decentralized collection, shared freely, and amenable to distributed sense-making not only for the pursuit of science but also advocacy, art, play, and politics. (...) Today's exotic and disturbing data collection practices may appear banal 10 years hence. To the extent that privacy preferences are adaptive to the environment in this manner, we must be aware that today's policy choices will have long-term path-dependent effects."

Why do I blog this? some interesting issues regarding urban sensing. I am personally interested in how they can be used, how these networked objects can create new applications in the city of the near future. As I blogged the other day, is it useful for urban planners? architects? city dwellers? Can we design intriguing services or playful environment based on them?

Cuff, D., Hansen M., & Kang, J. (2008). Urban sensing: out of the woods. Communications of the ACM, 51(3), pp. 24-33.