Citizen Sensors at the Mobile University

Professor Fabio Ciravegna & Dr Stuart Wrigley took part in the University of Sheffield’s Mobile University. The three days consisted of free lectures and events on a double decker bus. There was an overspill area with deck chairs where people could watch the presentations relayed by live video link.


On the Sunday, they gave a lecture called How citizens can help monitor rivers: from social media to flying drones in which they explored technologies that citizens can use to benefit the environment. The weather was excellent and we had lots of people listening to the talk in the overspill area and sat on the surrounding grass.

The talk focussed on technologies that citizens can use to help monitor rivers which, in turn, improve the accuracy of flood prediction, flood preparation and subsequent clear-up.

They introduced their work on social media analysis which can be used both to speed up awareness of rapidly evolving flood situations and also help people respond effectively to floods.

In addition, they presented two new types of sensor which have been developed by the OAK group: a sensor to monitor water velocity that can be built by citizens themselves; and a drone to take environment measurements during floods that can be flown by professionals from the local authority but can also be built and flown by citizen scientists.


This technology is currently being tested in the UK (Doncaster) and Italy (Venice) as part of the WeSenseIt Project.