Rural Main Street environmental monitoring with the Box of Things – Gorey, Co. Wexford
Selected as an exemplar case study by DCU in partnership with .IE
Wexford County Council and Irish Institute of Digital Business
Wexford County Council has recognised that a high quality, clean and safe environment is important for the economic development of the county, in particular, tourism, agriculture, forestry and services. Gorey is a market town in north County Wexford, Ireland and due to its proximity and transport links to Dublin, one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland. Wexford County Council face the challenge of managing the tension in Gorey between planned growth and environmental sustainability. In particular, as Gorey has grown, road traffic has also increased resulting in increased particulate, gaseous, noise, and other non-exhaust emissions. Collecting accurate and timely data on road usage and related emissions has traditionally been difficult and costly. Advances in digital technologies and specifically low-cost sensors and cloud computing enable near real-time data collection and analysis.
- To offer useful insights to the citizens of Gorey.
- To optimise the delivery of public services.
- To catalyse greater use of open data for innovation throughout Wexford.
The Box of Things project collects anonymised environmental, pedestrian and road traffic data using sensors on the main street of Gorey, Co. Wexford. The Box of Things currently collects data on temperature, humidity and pressure, carbon monoxide (CO), nitric dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), particle matter, noise level, and pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Each data is calibrated individually and data is collected in 1 minute intervals. It is shared on cloud and then once cleaned, shared as open source data through the Town of Things website and data.gov.ie. Sensor workshops were held with local schools to explain the project.
Road traffic is a significant contributor to pollution through particulate, gaseous, noise, and other non-exhaust emissions. Outdoor air pollution is a significant contributor to adverse health outcomes including aggravating respiratory and cardiovascular conditions/ disease. Curbing outdoor air pollution to improve public health involves a range of measures including traffic planning and management, reducing vehicle emissions, and traffic data collected by the Box of Things enables Wexford County council to make decisions on traffic management based on more granular data and information to the citizens of Gorey on air quality in their town. Furthermore, the data is shared as open data so other stakeholders, researchers, policymakers, commercial vendors, and citizens can use this data to analyse how pollutant emissions and road traffic impact health.
The Box of Things is currently deployed at one location in Main Street, Gorey, Co. Wexford. If successful, additional sensors will be added to capture additional environmental data, e.g. light, and it will be rolled out to other locations in Gorey and Wexford.
The Box of Things comprises the Libellium Plug&Sense Kit, two XOVIS PC2R-O-UL Outdoor Pedestrian Sensors and the Vemco Vehicle Counting Analytics Hardware Package. Data is shared and stored by API to Google Cloud. Open data is stored and shared on an installation of CKAN, and loaded to data.gov.ie periodically.
One key lesson is the importance of validating data export and ensuring data integration between systems.
Written by Dr. Jennifer Kennedy, The Irish Institute of Digital Business, Dublin City University.