Cool it!

2014 Challenge

  • Hashtags:

    #earth, #coolit


    [email protected]


    Hardware, Platform

    Challenge Description

    This challenge brings together hardware builders, coders, engineers, social scientists, teachers, and community members. Create a sensor kit to measure temperature and relative humidity in real time. Or, create a real-time micronet of sensor kits and use the data generated to understand local environmental conditions. These 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 that would use a temperature micronet to educate people about climate, microclimate and the urban heat island effect, 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.


    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. This provides you with the opportunity to think of new and actionable ways in which these data can help communities prepare for and address the urban heat island effect.

    Solution Ideas

    Here are some ways for you to build this solution:

    Hardware: Sensor kit (sensors)

    Potential ten minute time resolution on temperature and relative humidity data; target accuracy with temperature--+/- 1 degree centigrade; relative humidity--+/- 2-5%; communicate with the micronet; strive to be low cost with deployment of many sensors in a single community envisioned; sensors could potentially leverage presence of existing platforms in communities (smartphones, etc.); use data standards so the data are interoperable; post technical drawings and pictures of the hardware in public locations so they can be shared; and bring your own component hardware. Make sure to bring what you think you’ll need!

    Software: Micronet and Data Visualization

    Build open source databases, user interfaces, software back ends, and micronets that use standards for data read/write (potentially with the Sensor Observation Service). For the micronet, consider a user interface and backend that could be used to manage the network of climate kits and data collected. For websites, consider data displays from network of sensors with interactive display functionality to allow people to zoom in to specific times, places, and time durations. Potentially create a map, perhaps layered with an API that allows users to see a spatial distribution and make comparisons. Be creative in how you present the data! Use cool graphics if you can.

    Courseware: Climate and urban heat island course module

    Solutions for courseware could include a writeup of the curriculum plan/course. Courseware could cover questions like:

    How can the data be used to illustrate temporal and spatial variability in temperature and climate? How do you build data from the daily and local to the climatological, regional, and global? Are certain places always warmer or cooler than others? How do the data you gather fit in historical context and future climate projections? What is the urban heat island effect? What are the causes of it? How is it exacerbated by changes in climate? What is the effect of sunlight on buildings and pavements? How do they store heat? How do you distinguish between weather events like heat waves and climate trends? What are the public health outcomes of the urban heat island effect? How can you make where you live cooler? What actions can be taken to make your community more climate resilient? How can the data you gather through your micronet be used for community and student education and climate-related action?

    Impact: City Alert apps

    Create apps that use synthesized micronet data and make the data interpretable and actionable. Consider creating creative community alert systems that can help people understand when local conditions are too hot. For example, AirNow mashes air quality data together, and provides air quality indices that provide easily understandable gradations of air quality. Maybe have green/yellow/red indicators for the urban heat island? Determine what best fits for your community. Think about where hot spots are in in your community and how to transform these areas into green spots that can cool the surrounding areas.

    Sample Resources

  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

    • Satellite Love

      We feel satellite near. Visit Project

    • WED Weather Embedded Device

      The main purpose of WED is to help humanity to realize that there is actually a process called " Global warming". Our secondary purpose is provide a global network of accurate atmosphere conditions in every point on the planet Earth. Nowadays there are a lot of weather forecast channels and webs... Visit Project

    • Weather Mesh

      For our team it was important to build simply and cheaply. It is also important for it to be built on open-source software, so it's accessible to a wide age range and income level. It was also important to represent the data that was easily accessible and interactive for the general public. ... Visit Project

    • CoolItHCM

      Research and educate people about heat island effect Visit Project

    • 4DIY

      4DIY is an Arduino-compatible with integrate WiFi and awesome app Visit Project

    • SensorNet

      The aim of the project is provide data for persons attending the space apps challenge and model the data in the same way as thermal heat image. So you will be able to find the hot and cold areas of the room being measured. Cool IT - Sensor Net all data is public; The Arduino Duemilanova @ B... Visit Project

    • Cool it Together

      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... Visit Project

    • Play-it-cool

      The project is a game to get people to collect temperature and humidity data using their mobile phone via bluetooth and to send it to the cloud and make it available to all. The game has 2 teams: the engagers (blue) vs. the resilients (green). When joining the game, players have to choose one ... Visit Project

    • Play-it-cool-project

      # Why this project Our objectives with this project is to solve the Cool-it challenge in an engaging way with people. We believe that by involving people as a team in playing, they will have more interest in the data they collect and more awareness about what it actually means in terms of cli... Visit Project

    • LocalHeatMap

      This project explores two sides of collecting and presenting user contributed weather data. For the first half, we've put together a set of Arduino-based sensor devices and for the second half, we've explored building a local heat map using the same data. The project is targeted around the Met... Visit Project

    • incalescence

      Using hardware / api to aggregate and expose scout sensor data for use of by space apps challenge participants; deployed providing a dashboard / heads up display (HUD) graphical client side open-source javascript / canvas presentation and historical slide of troops, leaders an... Visit Project

    • main.xml.php

      The micro-controller takes an analogue input voltage from the output pin of the sensor(LM35) through the pin RA0/AN0,then it firstly calculates the received value by converting it in the ADRESL and ADRESH to the corresponding temperature value in degrees or Fahrenheit Celsius. And then the value ... Visit Project

    • Community Monitoring

      The environment sensing is a very dificult task, considering the fact that environment evolutes in time and had distributed parameters. So how can the environment be measured? Our Team propposes the implementation of a wireless sensor network to obtain multiple samples of the environment(Temp... Visit Project


      Knowing the microclimates through specific sensors serves not only to identify the conditions of a place, but also to determine the ideal climate for an activity or a dynamic or even particular purpose of any study where data needed a particular microclimate. One of the long-term goals is to impl... Visit Project

    • Heat Island Solver

      Our objective is to create a low cost kit that will consist on a hybrid sensor (Temperature & Relative humidity), a 1 W Solar Panel (6 V, 50mA), an Arduino UNO board and a GSM module. This kit is pretended to be placed on different places of a city so the final user can check the specific tempe... Visit Project

    • Weather Education Workshop Innovation Team

      We aim to create content for an environmental sciences course. We will create a complete presentation where we will define the basic concepts of the urban heat island, climate change and how we can monitor climate within the cities. The approach is merely educational and will be presented to our ... Visit Project

    • The Coolers

      The main goal of this project is to expand global knowledge about heat island effect and it's impact to people's health. The idea is to create friendly application witch shows us drastic difference between living conditions in rural and urban areas. The more explicit the pictures and the content ... Visit Project

    • Sense Net

      The web interface we created represents data in real-time and has the goal to educate community members about the difference in temperature in downtown and suburban areas addressing the heat island effect. Further we plan to implement a graph charts and visual maps to show the warmest areas in th... Visit Project

    • Framework for Remote Automated Environmental Monitoring and Control

      Intelligent systems for monitoring and controlling environments are becoming increasingly popular. These systems allow users to easily handle repetitive tasks and remotely control devices scattered throughout an area. As a result, they are often used to increase user comfort or to reduce energy c... Visit Project

    • The Stitch Project

      This proposal is an original approach to the cool it challenge focusing on device accessibility and agricultural concerns. Dakar, a typical ever-growing african city, concentrating more that 10% of Senegal’s population in 1% of its territory. The uncontrolled urbanization, unregulated waste ma... Visit Project

    • Urban Data

      Urban Data aims to create a mesh of sensors for cities. We use mesh networks, a Raspberry Pi and a bunch of sensors to detect urban micro climates, heatwaves and pollution. Starting with temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, CO2 and O and more sensors, Urban Data aims to provide an exten... Visit Project

    • coolnepal

      This project mainly consists of a sensors systems, android app and web app. The sensor system consists of microcontroller interfaced with two sensors namely temperature and humidity. These sensor system are deployed in different locations of a locality and forms a micro network between each other... Visit Project

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