'Wiki City Rome' to draw a map like no other

Aug 31, 2007
'Wiki City Rome' to draw a map like no other
In the 'Wiki City Rome' project an MIT team will obtain data anonymously from cell phones and other devices to map Rome in real time. Image / Kristian Kloeckl

Residents of Italy's capital will glimpse the future of urban mapmaking next month with the launch of "Wiki City Rome," a project developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that uses data from cellphones and other wireless technology to illustrate the city's pulse in real time.

The project will debut Sept. 8 during Rome's "Notte Bianca" or white night, an all-night festival of events across the capital city. During that night, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to see a unique map of the Italian capital that shows the movements of crowds, event locations, the whereabouts of well-known Roman personalities, and the real-time position of city buses and trains.

The map will also be broadcast on a big-screen display in one of Rome's main squares in the city center, giving Romans real-time feedback on the human dynamics in their immediate surroundings.

Wiki City Rome stems from MIT's SENSEable City Laboratory, an initiative directed by Carlo Ratti that studies the impact of new technologies on cities. The project builds on the work of "Real Time Rome," presented during the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale, the prestigious biannual exhibition of contemporary art.

Organizers say Wiki City Rome raises the intriguing prospect of a map drawn on the basis of dynamic elements of which the map itself is an active part. According to researcher Francesco Calabrese of SENSEable City Lab, a person could consult the map to find the most crowded place in Rome to drink an aperitivo - and then identify the least congested route by which to reach it.

"Rome's Notte Bianca is all about the city, the people and the events, and Wiki City Rome will give Romans a new awareness of how they move within their city in response to this exceptional pulse of activities," said researcher Kristian Kloeckl, a SENSEable City Lab member who is also working on the project.

"How do people react towards this new perspective on their own city while they are determining the city's very own dynamic? How does having access to real-time data in the context of possible action alter the process of decision-making in how to go about different activities?" Kloeckl asked. "These are among the questions we may be able to answer."

By looking at a city using a "real-time control system" as a working analogy, the Wiki City project studies tools that enable people to become prime actors themselves in improving the efficiency of urban systems. In coming years, the Wiki City project will develop as an open platform where anybody can download and upload data that are location and time sensitive.

"By deploying developments of the 'Web 2.0' and the 'Semantic Web,' Wiki City can be a significant leap forward towards a pervasive 'internet of things' to support human action and interaction," said Carlo Ratti.

Ratti's team obtains its data anonymously from cell phones, GPS devices on buses and taxis, and other wireless mobile devices. Data are made anonymous and aggregated from the beginning, so there are no implications for individual privacy.

Partnering with the SENSEable City Lab on Wiki City Rome are SEAT Pagine Gialle, Telecom Italia, Telespazio, the Rome public transportation authority ATAC, La Repubblica, and Trenitalia.

In addition to Kloeckl, Calabrese and Ratti, members of the Wiki City Rome team include Assaf Biderman, Bernd Resch, and Fabien Girardin.

Link: "Wiki City Rome" -- senseable.mit.edu/wikicity/rome

Source: MIT

Explore further: Researchers use Twitter to predict crime

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

41 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

49 minutes ago

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines

55 minutes ago

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

More news stories

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.