In cities it is hotter than in surrounding rural areas. High urban temperatures lead to the increase of air conditioning costs and energy consumption, as well as to the increase of heat-related illnesses and mortality. The scientists call this phenomenon the "urban heat island effect". Our aim is to give to local communities an instrument for measuring this effect and the method to mitigate it.

This project is solving the Cool it! challenge.


Our project aims to achieve three goals: construct a sensor kit capable to measure temperature and humidity, write software for measurement collection and visualisation and build materials for courseware to educate junior students about local climate change. Achieving these three goals will equip local communities with means to measure the urban heat island effect and to spread knowledge about its causes and ways of mitigation.

Sensor kit should be built from common low-cost components and provide measurement accuracy for temperature 1C and for humidity 5%. As there are many places without Wi-Fi coverage, especially in rural areas, sensor kit should use GSM/GPRS to transfer measurement data to the central server. To meet this requirements we use DHT11 sensor attached to Arduino platform with GSM Shield. Components used to assemble one sensor kit cost $85.

Software must provide REST services to register new sensors, store and obtain measures from registered sensors. User should be able to view current measurement data on the map and view different sensor historical measurement data on graphs, comparing different locations. We use backend-frontend architecture for our app. Backend is written in Java 8 and deployed on VPS running Ubuntu Linux 12. Frontend uses Google Charts and Open Street Maps for data visualisation and is deployed on the same server as backend.

Courseware should include course plan and two labs for students to fulfil using created sensor kits and software. In first lab students deploy sensors at three points: in the city centre, in the city park and in rural area near the city. They collect temperature and humidity measurements from named three locations, analyse the amount of urban heat island effect and propose the way of its mitigation through growing more trees in the city. The second lab makes students aware of another way to mitigate heat island effect by using reflective materials in building constructions.

Our team consist of four people. Each of three topics is developed by particular team member with skills in hardware hacking, software development or courseware writing accordingly. And the fourth member task is to orchestrate these activities and in-team communications to get the integral result at the end of challenge.

Project site

Project Information

License: GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPL-3.0)

Source Code/Project URL:


Course Plan -
Lab One: Measuring Heat Island Effect -
Lab Two: Mitigating Heat Island Effect -
Sensor Schema -
Sensor Hardware Specs -


  • Kirill Dmitriev
  • Aleksey Zalesov
  • Andrey Rusakov
  • Zoya Vorobyeva