FLAMENCO is a project funded by Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (IWT) and aims to deliver an open cloud-based software platform, designed for citizens to create and participate in citizen observatory campaigns.

A technological enabler for people-centric environmental monitoring.

To confront major challenges of today, our society requires fundamental transitions in the way we deal with energy, buildings, mobility, environment and health. Ever more prevalent urban areas play a key role in the transition processes towards a sustainable society, because it is here that limits to growth are most apparent, but also, more constructively, because cities harbour so much technology. This unlocks the potential for collecting enormous volumes of highly localised, person-centric data, which can support policy makers to assess urban processes in a way that was hitherto impossible. That this is an evolution to be taken seriously is underlined by the fact that bottom-up initiatives such as Wikipedia and Open-StreetMap, which show that knowledge creation is no longer a top-down process controlled solely by scientists and politicians, but rather that all citizens can act as so-called prosumers of information.

Stimulate informed citizen participation in decision-making processes.

Participatory sensing embraces these ideas and serves as a technological enabler for people-centric environmental monitoring by way of smart mobile devices, mediated by so called citizen observatories. It addresses the need for fine grained data and monitoring tools. Through the efforts of (hundreds of) volunteers data can be collected with a spatiotemporal granularity that cannot be achieved by standard expert monitoring campaigns. Although the motivation for participatory data collection can be very utilitarian, it also stimulates informed citizen participation in decision-making processes. Involving the general public in environmental assessment leads to a common understanding and awareness of the issues at stake, mobilisation of local knowledge, joint problem ownership, and co-creation of solutions. This, in its turn, provides a better basis for decision-making.

The FLAMENCO project

FLAMENCO will produce an open cloud-based software platform, designed for citizens to create and participate in citizen observatory campaigns.

The main objective of the 4-year Flamenco project is to create an open cloud-based software platform specifically designed for allowing citizens to create and participate in so-called citizen observatory campaigns. A campaign is defined by stakeholders by specifying what data needs to be collected in order to map and indicate some concern (A in the figure). Subsequently, the campaign is enacted through the stakeholder’s citizen observatory (B in the figure), which also monitors campaign progress in terms of incoming data, and orchestrates activities in case progress is not as expected. Finally, the campaign is analysed by producing the requested output (maps, reports)(C in the figure).

Annotated Architecture
A visualisation of how a campaign is created and monitored.

Despite the fact that campaigns constitute a fairly obvious notion, there currently exists only limited support for them. In this project they are essential in bridging the gap between stakeholder usability, data quality, and the well-known intricacies of engineering reconfigurable software.