Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Columbia's Tow Center is brainstorming sensor journalism prospects in workshop

In a little over a week, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University will be organizing experts across multiple disciplines, from around the country, to come up with low-cost, widely-distributable solutions for sensor journalism.

For their Sensor Journalism Weekend (June 1-2), the Tow Center will host discussions on the "pre-history, current practice and opportunities for sensors in journalism," in anticipation of a pilot sensor journalism project to be conducted over the summer.

According to Tow's calendar, there will be "technical, ethical, theoretical and practical resources available, demonstrations of current sensing equipment and opportunities to expand links throughout the community of people working in the field." Folks from the Spatial Information Design Laboratory in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University will be in attendance.

While doing some background research ahead of the weekend, I came across some quotes from Emily Bell, the Tow Center director, that suggests this weekend won't just be about what data to collect, but also what private bounds to respect when data comes freely from sensors, and how much to report.

I'm very grateful to have been selected by the Tow Center to attend this event. I haven't published anything related to my newest sensor journalism research on this website just yet, but I do anticipate a post soon about my effort to produce a low-cost sensor that can measure air quality.

A key design choice about this sensing solution was to keep a simple design and a low component count, such that it can be soldered together at home with no previous electronics experience, or fabricated with the help of a community fab lab.

While I'm finishing up the first round of experimentation, here's a link that aggregates all the previous posts from this website on sensor journalism.

Hope to see you at the Tow Center later this month.