Implementing Participatory Sensing in Environmental Mobile Applications

Implementing Participatory Sensing in Environmental Mobile Applications

Eduardo S. Barrenechea (University of Waterloo, Canada), Paulo Alencar (University of Waterloo, Canada), Donald Cowan (University of Waterloo, Canada), Fred McGarry (Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP), Canada) and Toacy Oliveira (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-655-1.ch047
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Advances in mobile technologies have led to a novel form of collaborative innovation (CI), namely participatory sensing, a process in which individuals and communities use increasingly more powerful mobile devices, such as cellular and smart phones, to collect and analyze systematic data. In this chapter, the authors describe experiences with the implementation of innovative collaborative environmental mobile applications involving participatory sensing. Specifically they focus on two mobile applications: an invasive species tracking system, and a mapping-based collaborative tourism system.
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Mobile Devices As Sensors

Mobility adds a new dimension to collaboration as now collaboration can happen while participants are on the move. For example, when locating an invasive species, an individual can locate it on a paper map which can then be transcribed to a Web-based map when he/she returns to their desktop or laptop computer. Instead a smart phone with its Global-Positioning System (GPS) can be used to record the location on a map where the map might also be shown on the phone. Thus mobility has the potential to provide more accuracy and immediacy as the data can be captured and reported upon in real-time.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Participatory Sensing: Refers to a paradigm involving the use of mobile devices to create a collaborative sensor network to collect, share and analyze data.

Android Platform: Is an open source mobile platform with a corresponding open source project led by Google.

Invasive Species Tracking System: Is a system created to track animal and plant species that are not native to a given region or environment.

Mobile Browser: Is a web browser designed for mobile devices.

Blackberry OS 5.0 Platform: Refers to a mobile platform for RIM’s blackberry devices.

Mapping-Based Collaborative Tourism System: Is a collaborative system based on maps that provides users with tourism-related services and information (e.g., tourist attractions).

Collaborative Innovation: Is an approach in which different groups or parties work together to solve a common goal by having a collective vision and sharing ideas, information and work.

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