The Networked Sensory Landscape: Capturing and Experiencing Ecological Change Across Scales

Brian Mayton

Mayton, Brian, et al. "The networked sensory landscape: Capturing and experiencing ecological change across scales." PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 26.2 (2017): 182-209.


What role will ubiquitous sensing play in our understanding and experience of ecology in the future? What opportunities are created by weaving a continuously sampling, geographically dense web of sensors into the natural environment, from the ground up? In this article, we explore these questions holistically, and present our work on an environmental sensor network designed to support a diverse array of applications, interpretations, and artistic expressions, from primary ecological research to musical composition. Over the past four years, we have been incorporating our ubiquitous sensing framework into the design and implementation of a large-scale wetland restoration, creating a broad canvas for creative exploration at the landscape scale. The projects we present here span the development and wide deployment of custom sensor node hardware, novel web services for providing real-time sensor data to end user applications, public-facing user interfaces for open-ended exploration of the data, as well as more radical UI modalities, through unmanned aerial vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, and wearable devices for sensory augmentation. From this work, we distill the Networked Sensory Landscape, a vision for the intersection of ubiquitous computing and environmental restoration. Sensor network technologies and novel approaches to interaction promise to reshape presence, opening up sensorial connections to ecological processes across spatial and temporal scales.

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