UKCRIC - CORONA: City Observatory Research platfOrm for iNnovation and Analytics

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

The CORONA project will provide the research and technical resource needed to support and unlock the research potential of the UKCRIC investment in Urban Observatories.

Cities generate the vast majority of the country's wealth and investment in its infrastructure amounts to billions each year. Cities are complex entities, with dynamic and interacting infrastructure, social and environmental aspects. Research typically focuses on single sectors, and limited timeframes and therefore is unable to understand the interwoven processes and systems.

The UKRCIC Observatories equipment grant has provided resource for sensors and observation equipment to be deployed at the whole city-scale to monitor over long timeframes an unprecedented range of variables, systems and processes. CORONA uses advances in 'smart city' technologies and the Internet of Things to enable these Observatories. However, we are not just using this data in a 'smart' way to optimise the operation of city functions (e.g. transport systems), rather using this data to build a long term understanding of the complexity of cities and infrastructure in their short and long term.

CORONA will achieve this by developing an understanding of how to apply scientific rigour to observation and learning (as one might expect in a typical laboratory) to measure a city and to start to unpick these patterns to enable decision makers, policy setters, citizens and scientists improve their understanding of how cities operate. Ultimately the research foundations put in place by CORONA and the UKCRIC equipment grants will enable us to collectively, make better decisions on investment and have a clear understanding of the potential impacts of our choices within urban areas.

To achieve our long term vision we need a solid foundation in the science of urban sensing, the collection, management and governance of the data and to establish working practices that enable local authorities, utilities, scientists, citizens and policy makers to work together. In CORONA key societal challenges facing our cities will be addressed (Air Quality, Energy, Housing) as a means to understand the practical aspects of urban monitoring and to develop a clearer picture of how this new 'urban sciences and engineering' can enable better decisions to be made that will improve quality of life and benefit the economy.

Planned Impact

This research expects to make impact across a number of communities:

Industrial Practice
The concept of the Urban Observatories has received significant support from UKCRIC's industrial partners. Atkins, Arup, Buro Happold, Arjuna etc. are among many who have already attended Urban Observatory workshops. Our approach to ensuring this impact is through close collaboration with partners to enable us to understand emerging technologies, user needs, evolving policy drivers and key decisions on the horizon. Our Industrial Challenge workshops will identify key urban and infrastructure challenges for industry and identify how the Urban Observatory might help address them. The place-based observatories already established at Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol as the means to establish, maintain and sustain partnerships across academia, industry, public sector and the third sector in order to improve cities and their infrastructure. CORONA will support the initiation of the 2nd wave of observatories in Cranfield, Manchester and Birmingham. These provide a platform to facilitate open knowledge-sharing and discussions to speed up the process of innovation in each urban area.

The Wider Public
A key aim of the UKCRIC Observatories and CORONA is ultimately to deliver improved quality of life and health to UK citizens. Our partnerships with industry, local and national government, and the third sector will de-risk innovation, improve understanding of how infrastructure performs in real environments, and provide the evidence base to improve decision-making in cities. We are in an outstanding position to achieve this through our local and national partnerships that underpin our Observatories. These place-based activities will be complemented by widely available material including open data platforms (http://uoweb1.ncl.ac.uk), digital media and educational material. We will also collaborate in high profile events such as the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 to showcase the work being done in this sector to a wide audience.

Local and National Government
Government Departments and bodies such as DCLG, Defra, and the Environment Agency (EA), are key stakeholders in ensuring long-term benefit from this research as part of their ongoing remits. Involvement with workshops will include appropriate members of DCLG, Defra, the Environment Agency as well as local partners and relevant city council departments. Ongoing engagement with government bodies above will be maintained through CORONA's links established in the workshops and a policy briefing document will be created and developed in the last year of the programme in collaboration with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Additionally, we shall also engage with the House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee and especially in relation to its activities in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Smart Cities.

Publications

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Puussaar A (2018) Making Open Data Work for Civic Advocacy in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction

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Varghese B (2018) Realizing Edge Marketplaces: Challenges and Opportunities in IEEE Cloud Computing

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Varghese B (2018) Realizing Edge Marketplaces: Challenges and Opportunities in IEEE Cloud Computing

 
Title Great Exhibition of the North Every Thing Every Time 
Description What stories can be uncovered from a city using the data generated by its visitors, residents and workers? every thing every time takes information from our interactions to tell a new story about the people and places of Newcastle. Watch how the real-time data measuring fluctuations including weather, traffic and travel is used to generate a poem that's written in real time and displayed on a large scale outside the Theatre Royal. Can we see the urban landscape differently through the technologies that quantify it - the work by artist Naho Matsuda questions the role of data in our lives as well as its use and value. EVERY THING EVERY TIME - Stories from the city. every thing every time is an artwork by the artist Naho Matsuda, commissioned by Great Exhibition of the North with support from FutureEverything, Manchester With thanks to the Urban Observatory at Newcastle University, and RASKL. nahomatsuda.com futureeverything.org 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact A lot of public awareness 
URL https://getnorth2018.com/previous-events/every-thing-every-time/
 
Title Large scale projection of real time data 
Description Exposure of data - real time portrayal of artistic interpretation of air quality as part of Great Exhibition (at Central Station) 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Raising awareness 
 
Title Poetry installation as part of the Great Exhibition 
Description Poetry installation as part of the Great Exhibition 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Exposure of data as part of Great Exhibition 
 
Description Geospatial Data Infrastructure Report
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Future Cities Catapult Data Scientist
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Future Cities Catapult Limited 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 12/2018
 
Description Higher Education Investment Fund (UKRI) Connected Capability Fund
Amount £4,900,000 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 04/2021
 
Description ICase PhD Award
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description Integrating Altasense technologies into the UKCRIC Birmingham Urban Observatory
Amount £42,657 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Title CCTV static Image library 
Description OVer 5,000,000 CCTV images from 420 cameras around Newcastle upon Tyne 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Open API enabling researcher, public and government to access data. 
URL http://api.newcastle.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/camera
 
Title Urban Observatory Environmental Data 
Description The UK's largest collection of Urban Environmental Monitoring data at http://newcastle.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/. 1,000,000,000+ records 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Over 4,000,000 downloads. 
URL http://newcastle.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/.
 
Description Data sharing agreement with WS Atkins 
Organisation WS Atkins
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have entered into a collaborative partnership with Atkins to look at smart city data applications. We will be working with them providing data and test bed for future smart city applications and developments
Collaborator Contribution We have entered into a collaborative partnership with Atkins to look at smart city data applications. We will be working with them providing data and test bed for future smart city applications and developments
Impact Mini-workshop has been held
Start Year 2018
 
Description Digital Twin Proof of Concept 
Organisation Mott Macdonald UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of DT workflow
Collaborator Contribution Co-creation of workflow and financial contribution
Impact DT POC and workflow
Start Year 2018
 
Description MoU with WS Atkins 
Organisation WS Atkins
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of projects related to urban data and software integration
Collaborator Contribution Development of use cases for urban data deployment
Impact Development of projects related to urban data and software integration
Start Year 2018
 
Description Research Pilot with Amey 
Organisation Amey PLC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Proposed Network of Road Surface Temperature Sensors
Collaborator Contribution Staff time commitment to undertake research
Impact Proposed Network of Road Surface Temperature Sensors
Start Year 2019
 
Description Research Pilot with Future Cities Catapult 
Organisation Future Cities Catapult Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-development of tech totem technology and deployment in the city
Collaborator Contribution Co-investment in development of totem technology
Impact Co-investment in development of totem technology
Start Year 2018
 
Description Research Pilot with Network Rail 
Organisation Network Rail Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Proposed Network of Moisture Sensors
Collaborator Contribution Deployment and use of network
Impact Deployment and use of network
Start Year 2019
 
Description Research Pilot with Nexus 
Organisation Nexus
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Installation and development of people monitoring equipment and associated analytics in Monument Metro Station
Collaborator Contribution Capital investment in building works to accommodate installation, access to networks and shared data
Impact Capital investment in building works to accommodate installation, access to networks and shared data
Start Year 2018
 
Description Research Pilot with Port of Tyne 
Organisation Port Of Tyne Authority
PI Contribution Development of research pilot deploying AQ sensors in the port
Collaborator Contribution Access to facilities, installation
Impact Access to facilities, installation
Start Year 2018
 
Description Research pilot with National Cyber Security Centre 
Organisation National Cyber Security Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Exploration of technological and privacy risks arising from smart building technologies
Collaborator Contribution Staff time commitment to undertake research
Impact joint research pilot
Start Year 2018
 
Description iCase studentship 
Organisation Ordnance Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Fully funded iCase studentship
Collaborator Contribution BIM/ GIS integration
Impact Studentship
Start Year 2017
 
Description iCase studentship 
Organisation Ordnance Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Fully funded iCase studentship
Collaborator Contribution Modelling sensors from the the kitchen sink to the national grid
Impact funded studentship
Start Year 2018
 
Title Github Repository of DOCKER images for CORONA 
Description Software images for observatories 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Docker images containerising the core databases systems, UI and micro-services systems for deploying UO software stack 
URL https://github.com/urbanobservatory/
 
Title UO data portal 
Description Data Portal 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Updated Urban Observatory Portal 
URL http://newcastle.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/
 
Title USB Interface 
Description Web interface and 3D model of USB and data 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Public interface to USB data streams and visualisation 
 
Title Urban Observatory API 
Description Updated API for UO data 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Updated API for Urban Observatory 
URL http://newcastle.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/api_docs/
 
Title Worked API examples 
Description API examples notebooks 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Several worked examples of using the API for data analytic tasks 
 
Description Analyst North East Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Summer conference keynote speaker (Jennine Joncyzk/Luke Smith)
Engagement/profile raising
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cities Panel @ Bluedot event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach activities at festival; Raise awareness of the UO and UKCRIC in general
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cities Research Theme Launch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Launch of the University's research theme in Cities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cities Workshop at the Ordnance Survey 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Cities Workshop at the Ordnance Survey with cross-disciplinary academics for project planning and discussion of new proposals and networking
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DREAM Challenge Week: Talk/hackathon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact DREAM Challenge Week Talk/hackathon
Outcomes: Use of data and tools, awareness; Developed 3 prototype systems using data
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Data Research Theme Launch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Launch of the University's research theme in Data to local stakeholders
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DataJam Northeast: Hack type event with government and other stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact DataJam Northeast Hack type event with government and other stakeholders to increase awareness of data, development of prototype tools
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Discussion panel with UK Civil Service Head of Geography 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussion panel with UK Civil Service Head of Geography to raise awareness and discuss opportunities for data integration into current government practice and the skills gap
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Evening reception at British High Commission (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact evening reception at British High Commission
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Great Exhibition Podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Podcast on the observatory as part of the Great Exhibiiton of the North
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://futureeverything.org/art/entry/naho-matsuda-every-thing-every-time-getn/
 
Description Innovate UK delegation: Lecture and discussion 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Innovate UK delegation: Lecture and discussion to develop awareness and influence research agenda of the funding body
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview BBC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio interview about urban monitoring to raise awareness of urban observatories
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote ACM SigSpatial Seattle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote ACM SigSpatial Seattle to researchers and practitioners to develop awareness and influence research direction
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote Smart and Future Cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on smart city monitoring as part of this international event. Made in conjunction with the Head of Place at Newcastle City Council
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote lecture at Smart to Future Cities Conference (Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Profile raising
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting at CREATE Lab MIT (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting at CREATE Lab MIT to create new research collaborations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting at CREATE lab (CARE) (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting at CREATE lab (CARE) to create a new research partnership
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Newcastle Pint of Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk at Pint of Science event (Phil James)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NorthMOST Transport Modelling workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lecture (Phil James) to 50 academics and members of the general public to raise awareness of the Urban Observatories
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Northern Bee Keepers annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote lecture on monitoring the environment (Phil James) to bee keepers
Engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Northern Beekeepers Association Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invitied Speaker on Air Quality and monitoring in cities as part of the Northern Beekeepers associatuon AGM and conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.nebees.org/
 
Description Outreach@Bluedot 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach activities at Festival
Raise awareness of the Urban Observatories and UKCRIC in general
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Pint of Science event Newcastle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Approximately 40 people attended a talk on air quality as part of the Pint of Science event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://pintofscience.co.uk/
 
Description Podcast as part of the Great Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Podcast as part of the Great Exhibition to raise profile of the Urban Observatories
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to Permanent Secretary of the DfT 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Talk and discussion with key civil service staff at the DfT
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to Xiamen presidential visit (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation and discussion to create new partnerships
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at Manchester Data Science Institute 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar on IoT and architectures, and future outlook.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk at 10th International Conference on Urban Climate in NYC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Raised international awareness to highlight the urban observatory approach to a wider academic audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Trade stand at world cities summit (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Trade stand at world cities summit to raise profile of the Urban Observatories
Outcome: invitations to discuss collaborations with Future Cities Catapult
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description U4SSC Expert Panel member (Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact U4SSC Expert Panel member
Awareness raising of UKCRIC activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Urban Flows Competition Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Urban Flows overview, & sensor pitches for competition
New sensors for urban flows
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Webinar Luke Smith broadcast on - "practical applications of supercomputing in flood simulation" 24/04/2018 (IAHR/IWA Joint Committee on Hydroinformatics for Urban Flood Modelling and Risk Management) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Webinar Luke Smith broadcast on - "practical applications of supercomputing in flood simulation" 24/04/2018 (IAHR/IWA Joint Committee on Hydroinformatics for Urban Flood Modelling and Risk Management)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop at NewRIIS (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation in workshop to raise profile
Outcome: Invitations to discuss collaborations with CARES and MIT
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Yiheng Chen submitted abstract and will present research result from the water quality project supported by UKCRIC at 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Yiheng Chen submitted abstract and will present research result from the water quality project supported by UKCRIC at 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation to prospective students at NewRIIS (Stephanie Glendinning and Phil James) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact presentation to prospective students at NewRIIS to recruit PhD students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018