Week 9: more reading and reference collecting

One of the types of sensors I’m looking at are mobile GPS sensors that attempt to determine what mode of transportation one is using, and from that and the GPS trajectory estimate one’s environmental impact (carbon footprint in particular). I’ve found 3 systems doing this so far:

  • Carbon Diem (previously known as Carbon Hero). Carbon Diem is designed to run on GPS-enabled mobile phones (Blackberry and Nokia N-series now, but “platform and provider agnostic”). As this article indicates they have been working on the system since 2006. They are trying to raise money, and focusing on the corporate market initially. The app claims to “tell if you drive, fly, take the train or walk”, and if they can sign a deal with a carrier or handset maker they could potentially launch to consumers in Spring 2009. According to this Guardian article, “the software was almost 100% accurate in working out when people were on airplanes or trains; it was between 65-75% accurate at guessing when people travelled on buses”.
  • Ecorio is a similar application for Google’s Android platform. It also uses GPS to detect the mode of transportation, and estimates carbon output from that. There is apparently support for detecting how efficiently you are driving, which is an interesting twist (though not sure how you provide the feedback when the user is driving). Ecorio also provides suggestions for reductions, such as links to Google Transit, and carpooling info. There appears to be some “what if” functionality built in as well, such as how much carbon will I emit if I start taking public transit half the time (screenshot in this article). Users can also purchase carbon offsets from the phone. There are plans to port the application to other platforms (iPhone is mentioned, but would be difficult given the restrictions on background processing). I wonder if this can be run in the Android SDK simulator, with Bluetooth GPS as input?
  • UCLA’s Personal Environmental Impact Report is another phone-based system. Currently in closed beta, runs on Nokia GPS-enabled phones. They are including other environmental factors, like smog.

It would be interesting to get a hold of some of these sensors and see how accurate they are compared to just recording the odometer & fuel usage information, or marking commutes on a map from memory.

I’m really liking BibDesk, the Mac OS X BibTeX manager. One really nice feature is being able to link URLs or local files to references. So you can save a PDF of a paper to your hard drive and link the BibTeX record to the file for easy access. It can also show you a nearly instant preview of how the currently selected item will be rendered in LaTeX. There are a bunch more features I haven’t dipped into yet, such as auto generation of cite-keys and automatic managment of your PDFs.

I’m still not quite sure how to cite web sites. For now I’m using the misc BibTeX type, and putting a \url{http://...} in the Howpublished field, which seems to produce reasonable output.

Planned items from last week:

  • Read 4 papers from literature review list
    • Understanding mobility based on GPS data [DONE]
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web [NOT DONE]
    • Displaying dynamic carbon footprints of products on mobile phones [DONE]
    • Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective [NOT DONE]
  • Start building table of possible sensor inputs [STARTED]
  • Add publications from PET workshop paper to BibTeX [DONE]

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Added a bunch of papers to lit review on Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate
  • Added several more papers while tracking down references from PET paper

Hours worked: 15 (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Read 4 new papers from literature review list
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
    • Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective
    • New Ways to Promote Proenvironmental Behavior: Expanding and Evaluating Motives for Environmentally Responsible Behavior
    • A Definition of ‘Carbon Footprint’
  • Add more sensors to list
  • Write up notes from papers read during PET paper lit review
    • EcoIsland: A System For Persuading Users To Reduce CO2 Emissions
    • Taking the Guesswork out of Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyles

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • Nothing I can think of
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