Sensors Measure Rainwater on Chicago Streets

A smart city pilot project, already in place at three locations in Chicago and on the way to two more, deploys sophisticated data gathering technology to measure the simple act of rainwater running downhill. Better green infrastructure will follow.
January 4, 2017, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Andrea Allen

Sean Thornton reports: "By combining sensors and cloud computing, a new pilot project in Chicago provides an innovative solution for what can be an everyday urban problem: rainwater."

"Launched by City Digital, a smart city incubator located within the consortium of public, private, and higher education entities that is UI Labs, the Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring (SGIM) project aims to provide cities with a tool to reduce urban flooding and prevent millions of dollars in subsequent property damage," adds Thornton.

The sensors deployed at the SGIM sites hope to collect data that will help planners and engineers better plan and manage green infrastructure.

For example, Argyle Street, the city's first shared street, boasting some of the city's newest permeable paving, provides one of the test sites for the SGIM project. "Underneath Argyle Street, City Digital and its partners have installed sensors to collect stormwater runoff data. These sensors can record, among other things, precipitation amounts, humidity levels, soil moisture measurements, air pressure levels, and chemical absorption rates," reports Thornton.

SGIM's data is expected to be publicly available on the city's data portal in 2017. The article includes more detail about City Digital, the SGIM project in particular, and stormwater infrastructure more generally.

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Published on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 in Data-Smart City Solutions
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