The Darwin Heatsync Project is all about harnessing the power of citizen science to drive solutions for a cooler, healthier, more connected and more economically viable Darwin.
Darwin is known for being a few things – and “hot and sticky” feature high on everyone’s lists. But we’re also known for our gorgeous sunsets, incredible nature and having the best weather in the country whenever our southern friends are freezing over, or even having their January heat wave.
So where are the real hotspots and coolspots of Darwin?
Now famous aerial photos of pre and post cyclone Marcus, tell a story of vastly reduced greenery in the city of Darwin. Heat maps have not been created for the post-Marcus area, and we also lack more precise heat data from our key recreational and transport spots.
The Darwin Heatsync Project is taking existing open data sets such as car parks, bike paths, tree cover and the greater Darwin map, and overlaying it with new, point to point real-time temperature and humidity data.
The new data is citizen driven. Students and other enthusiasts are coached to build our networked and gps enabled climate sensing modules, using the Internet of Things. These modules will be hosted in multiple locations in Darwin CBD and beyond.
Our website heatsyncingdarwin.net allows residents and visitors to find out where the best (coolest) picnic spots are, the shadiest spots for exercise and where more trees are needed. This means more people will participate in outdoor recreation as they can easily locate the coolest spots nearest to them. They will also be motivated to participate in greening the city initiatives as they can see from our map the difference it will make in cooling the city.
The Darwin city authority will benefit by gaining Citizen generated feedback on the best spots for future constructions of green spaces, shade infrastructure, transport routes and recreational zones.
The climate sensors can be incorporated into Council’s Switching on Darwin programme. CoD intends to conduct microclimate monitoring, including temperature and humidity data at city traffic intersections. The Darwin Heat Sync Project proposes using our modules at each intersection, at various buildings including offices, schools, shops, community buildings and apartments, and at regular smart street-lighting pole intervals throughout Darwin CBD. The modules will be delivered through a citizen education and engagement programme, and the public will be able to visualise real-time climate monitoring. The Darwin Heatsync project will therefore help CoD to actively engage with residents in cooling off their community.
As future functionality, the website or app will permit users to input data on green spaces that they create, and apply for a financial gardening incentive. This can be used particularly to encourage small gardens in apartments in Darwin CBD.
A cooler Darwin, and one that has known and available cool spots, has many positive implications for residents’ health, tourism, business and community engagement.
Year 10 students from Casuarina Secondary College created this video explanation of the project