Strengthening Data Competencies through an Interactive Installation

We are currently working on the concept design for an installation in collaboration with the Alexandra Institute (DK). The installation gives citizens of Aarhus new insights on local areas in Aarhus. Furthermore, children from the Aarhus area are given the opportunity to strengthen their data competencies through a combination of:

  • micro:bit programming
  • data harvesting from sound sensors
  • data stories through interactive data visualization.

At the moment we imagine the following scenario – but this may change as we uncover new territories:

The installation is an interactive map of the sound of Aarhus. The map changes with the sound and pulse of the city. Imagine standing in front of a traditional map of your neighbourhood (eg. Google Map). Instead of topology or infrastructure the map is shaped by data from sound sensors in your area.

This provides the user with new possible insights on the area; where do I find rest and peace in my neighbourhood? And when? What other areas with Aarhus provide similar possibilities for contemplation – but at other times? Why is that? This allows for uncovering new perspectives of neighbouring areas.

We’ve chosen the working title “Asphalt Oasis” for the installation:

The data for the installation is partly based upon real-time data from the CityProbe sensors that are placed around the inner city of Aarhus (DK). Currently 22 CityProbes are active, and during Spring 2019 48 CityProbes wil be located throughout the inner city of Aarhus thanks to Teknik og Miljø.

Data from the CityProbes can be accessed via the platform Open Data DK.

The second data source for the installation are elementary schools classes within the area. They are invited in by the Aarhus Public Libraries for two workshop days during a period of 2 weeks. The workshops will give them insights on programming micro:bits in order to perform their own data harvest and data contribution for the installation. In this way students will contribute with data from their local area – and the installation uncovers further sonic territories on the sound map.

Sketch on installation design

This is the current state of our installation design. The Alexandra Institute is working on producing a motherboard that houses the micro:bits, we are programming during the workshops.

The motherboard expands the functionality of the micro:bit by introducing great new features. e.g.:

  • new ways of powering the micro:bit over longer periods
  • data transmission over LoRaWan
  • improved sound sensors
Design print for the motherboard housing the micro:bits

Furthermore, the Alexandra Institute is working on the technical solution that integrates data sources and visualizes the data.

We imagine the installation to take form in a custom build setup at Dokk1, Aarhus. The installation will be based on mostly existing hardware, including the grid-based furniture already in use for exhibitions within the library space and possibly screens, projectors and computers.

The installation has to be able to communicate the scope of installation itself as well as basic information on the project behind the installation.

The design is still under development. But this is the current state. We look forward to shaping it further the coming months.

In May 2019 we will run the first test workshops with the actual motherboards, micro:bits and technical infrastructure – as well as the first basic visualizations at Dokk1, Aarhus (DK).