Public Lab Wiki documentation

NASA Space Apps Challenge: Cool It!

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NASA Space Apps Challenge

The NASA Space Apps Challege 2014 is running globally in almost 100 cities around the world, April 12-13. The challenges this year are in one of five themes: Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight, Robotics and Asteroids. Super excited to announce that Public Lab is working with the EPA on the Earth Watch Challenge: Cool It!

This page will serve as the main Cool It Challenge + PL Collaborator info hub. Will be updated over the course of this week in preparation for the hackathon this weekend.

From the Cool It Challenge page:

Cool It! Background

The heat island effect is described as a significant temperature difference between urban areas and surrounding rural areas. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “the annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8 to 5.4°F (1 to 3°C) warmer than its surroundings. On a clear, calm night, however, the temperature difference can be as much as 22°F (12°C).” ( EPA Heat Island Effect Basic Information page). Increased urban temperatures lead to increased energy consumption and costs for air conditioning, summertime peak energy demand, and air pollution, as well as increased heat-related illness and mortality.

Temperature and relative humidity sensors are coming down in cost and the ability to network them has been piloted. The opportunity is for you to think of new and actionable ways in which these data can help communities prepare for changes like the heat island effect.

Description and Goals

This challenge is about bringing together hardware builders, coders, engineers, social scientists, teachers, and community members. Create a sensor kit to measure temperature and relative humidity in several locations in real time. Or, create a real-time micronet of sensor kits and use their data to understand local environmental conditions. This data could even be used to educate the community about the urban heat island effect, weather, and climate.

There are many potential ways to participate in this challenge:

1) Hardware: Prototype and build a low-cost, open source temperature sensor kit to measure temperature and relative humidity.

2) Software and Data Visualization: Build a way to network the kits into a micronet. Create tools like interactive websites to use the data from the kits and micronets once deployed.

3) Courseware: Work with teachers to create modules to educate people about climate, microclimate and the urban heat island effects that would use a temperature micronet and touch on science, reading, social studies and geography.

4) Impact: Create concepts for community actions that can be taken to proactively address information gathered, such as warning community residents about extreme heat events. Develop apps that enable a community to create natural community cooling stations.