Course Preview (Technologies)

MOOC Summaries - TechniCity - illustration of colorful urban city with multimedia icon

Course Preview

“Technologies… Internet Access… Visualising WiFi… Pollution Monitoring… Structural Health Monitoring… Transportation Sensors.. RFID… Imagining and Surveillance.. Lidar Scanning Technology… Broadband in Planning…” 


  • Welcome
  • Internet: Context - Internet Access
  • Internet: Case Study - Visualizing WiFi
  • Sensors: Context
  • Sensors: Case Study - Pollution Monitoring
  • Sensors: Case Study - Structural Health Monitoring
  • Sensors: Case Study - Transportation Sensors
  • RFID: Context
  • RFID: Case Study - RFIDs in Cities
  • RFID: Case Study - RFID in Travel and Beyond
  • Imaging: Context - Imaging and Surveillance
  • Imaging: Case Study - Lidar Scanning Technology
  • Broadband: Broadband in Planning


  • Students in the course come from all over the world.
  • Focus on engaging in a conversation about cities and technologies.
  • Exciting and flexible for students to meet the learning objectives.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Internet: Context – Internet Access

  • Access to internet is increasingly seen as critical to people and cities e.g.
    • Finland has set a goal that every person in the country would have high-speed broadband access;
    • In Costa Rica, the Supreme Court ruled that access to information technology and communication is a fundamental right of citizens.
  • Broadband access means high speed access.
  • Short descriptions of different types of internet access technologies (e.g. WiMax, WiFi, mobile broadband satellite etc).
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Internet: Case Study – Visualizing WiFi

  • A group wanted explore where Wi-Fi is and how to visualize that in a way that we can understand.
  • They have been able to create a sensor system that senses the WiFi strength.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Sensors: Context

  • When different devices/sensors are connected to each other they can form what is known as a sensor network (and usually formed by some type of wireless communications).
  • The sensor network are often also connected to other systems, other networking systems (e.g. smart grid, autonomous vehicles, smart buildings, smart bridges etc), and this hybrid network could be used for city planning.
  • We need to know what the application for sensors is and how deployment must take place in order to provide a certain level of fidelity of what you want to do as well as cost issues?
  • One reason why many sensor systems are equipped with solar panels or renewable energy devices because changing batteries is oftentimes difficult or expensive to do.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Sensors: Case Study – Pollution Monitoring

  • Many cities are highly polluted, and toxic smog is correlated to an increase in lung cancer.
  • Sensors could be placed on street lamps, poles or other areas of the cities.
  • These sensors could help us analyse which medical ailments are caused by which type of pollutants in the air.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Sensors: Case Study – Structural Health Monitoring

  • Structural health monitoring is monitoring the health of infrastructure.
  • In 2007, the Minnesota Bridge collapsed due to design flaw and resulted in injuries and death.
  • A sensor network can help monitor the potential structural fidelity of buildings and infrastructure, and to ensure repairs have taken place before a disaster happens.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Sensors: Case Study – Transportation Sensors

  • Can be used for load balancing.
  • Example: during peak congestion, routes could be combined with traffic lights to facilitate better flow of traffic.
  • Example: GPS technology provides navigation services that tell you which routes are congested and suggest alternate routes.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

RFID: Context

  • A RFID tag can replace the barcode, and a reader can scan the RFID tag.
  • Detailed explanation of the technical characteristics of the RFID tag.
  • Every product/device can be assigned a specific tag that will have information about the type of product/device e.g.
    • car keys have an RFID tag, so that when you go very close to the car, the door will open;
    • pharmaceutical products will have a specific tag on them, spelling out when they were generated, their history, what they contain etc.
  • Other design considerations/challenges: size of the tags, and has to work in water and other materials e.g. metal.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

RFID: Case Study – RFIDs in Cities

  • RFID offers exciting new ways to collect high quality and accurate data, and to revolutionize planning.
  • They can be:
    • placed on underground water and sewer pipes, gas lines and other infrastructure systems;
    • integrated into building materials for building information modeling;
    • used in parking permits;
    • used to track both children and school buses;
    • placed on equipment.
  • Case studies/examples of how RFIDs can be used to support our cities: Cleveland (USA), Lulea (Sweden) and Songdo (South Korea).
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

RFID: Case Study – RFID in Travel and Beyond

  • Another application:  RFIDs on critical parts in airplanes so that we will know their history, health, if they need to be replaced, if they are working properly etc.
  • Everything can be tracked e.g. bags, purses etc; we might never lose anything.
  • Biggest application: supply chain e.g. when buying fish or meats or gum or any products, we can track the entire history.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Imaging: Context – Imaging and Surveillance

  • Video imaging is increasingly ubiquitous.
  • Broad range of video applications showing how useful video is as an urban technology, with significant beneficial impact on society.
  • Video processing digests information, make decisions and can lead to actions in many areas.
  • These areas include public safety, effectiveness and cost of law enforcement, fuel consumption, air pollution, quality of life measures, such as traffic congestion and drive times, and road conditions, such as icy, snowy, wet, and potholes.
  • Roadway video surveillance is beginning to play a larger role in preventing accidents, identifying and reducing reckless driving behavior, and recovering lost persons.
    • Example: in UK, in vicinity of speed detection cameras, accident reduction range from 8% to 49% for all crashes, and 11% to 44% for fatal and serious injury crashes.
  • Other uses: on-street parking management systems, detect slipperiness of a patch of road, detect uneven temperature when paving roads during construction etc
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Imaging: Case Study – Lidar Scanning Technology

  • LiDAR is a remote sensing technology – a laser light is shot out into the urban  environment, and the time it takes to reach an object and return is measured – that helps capture and create a map of the city.
  • LiDAR can be used in many ways in a city environment.
  • For example, ground-level LiDAR collection creates a precise 3D model it can shoot millions of points per minute, and extract all kinds of information about assets from roadsigns, billboards, awnings, potholes,  construction sites, debris.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

Broadband: Broadband in Planning

  • Broadband planning and broadband connectivity need to be considered as we plan cities and regions.
  • Unlike other infrastructure like roads, water, and sewer, broadband infrastructure is often under private ownership, and planners have not generally been involved with broadband professionals the way they routinely work with civil engineers and public works department.
  • The American Planning Association is increasingly addressing broadband needs in the 21st century, and planners need to put in place a broadband strategic plan.
  • All types of community plans whether they are comprehensive plans, downtown plans, tax increment finance plans, should have a statement that broadband is critical infrastructure.
  • The comprehensive plan should add a minimum reference free plan and include policies that coordinate the comprehensive plan objectives with broadband planning goals.
  • The plan should state that the broadband services must be reliable, there should be redundant networks, and they must be competitive in terms of the speeds that are available and the cost to access those services.
  • “Dig Once” policies should be included in the policy documents – as planners know, it is more cost efficient to install infrastructure during road construction projects, than to go back and tear it up later.
  • It is the planner’s job to represent the voice of those who may have overlooked when designing broadband networks.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of

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photo: depositphotos/Willypd

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