Bristol Open Data and Internet of Things.

This last weekend I attended Open data Camp 3 at the Watershed in Bristol. I’m interested in open data to solve the real problems city dwellers have — not a top down approach of governments (at all levels) opening up their data silos, but citizens coming together to request — or create — the datasets for the problems they have identified. I was, therefore, disappointed with the ‘un-keynote’, which concentrated on lobbying within central Government for central Government to release more data.

I ran a session of collecting weather data and other community activities. This involved first visiting “my” weather station, on the lamp post outside the Watershed, where we discussed potential uses for open weather data, such as modelling floods from analysis of long term river levels, tidal storm surges, and rainfall data. Oxford Flood Network was mentioned, as was the met office.

We returned to the Watershed, and discussed community data collection — and more specifically Things Manchester, who are building a radio based network (working on the spectrum freed up from the witch to Digital TV switchover) using Kerlink base stations. These cost about £1,200 for a roof-mounted unit that can — apparently — accommodate 64,000 individual sensors.

So this got me thinking —

  1. Is there a Things Bristol network? What are they doing?
  2. Who is responsible for building infrastructure — installing Kerlink Stations? — City Council? Bristol is Open? 3rd parties?
  3. Do we need to have applications, use cases, etc, before we can get a network of base stations built, or will sensors appear to fill the bandwidth provided?

I’d be interested in getting things moving to build an IoT infrastructure in Bristol — if you’d like to get involved, let me know in the comments below.

This is a personal opinion, and does not reflect the views of any organisation. I am not employed by the City Council or Bristol is Open.

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