Attendees at CTC15

Code The City 15 – Air Quality

On 16th and 17th February we brought together citizens from a variety of backgrounds to answer the question, “How clean is Aberdeen’s air?”  This followed conversations with a groups including 57 North Hacklab, representatives of the Torry and Tillydrone areas, Aberdeen University and individual developers, data scientists and others.

In the end we had 40 people come along on Saturday and almost 30 on Sunday. We calculated that this resulted in around 460 hours of community input into the project over the weekend!


In advance of the hack weekend, Code The City’s Andrew Sage and Bruce Scharlau had developed a beta test of an ideas platform that they had been working on. This enabled us to pose, in the context of the air quality challenge, what were barriers and opportunities; and to have potential attendees generate ideas, comment on each others’ suggestions. This mimics our CTC process, and helped to shorten that activity on the first day of this event.

Combining the outputs of the platform, with contributions from the room generated a bunch of ideas, and attendees voted with their feet, choosing to work on one of seven projects selected.

Building Air Quality Monitors

We’d sold tickets to those who wanted to build their own air quality sensor device under the supervision of Kevin of 57 North Hacklab. The design of the device is based on the Luftdaten model, but Kevin had adapted the design to fit inside an electrical box, to better protect it from the Aberdeen weather. Seven people on Saturday and another seven on Sunday completed their builds and after Kevin had flashed them with the software, took them home to instal them.

An air quality monitor
An air quality monitor


Over the weekend seven teams worked on their projects. For each we created Github Repos so that no artefacts created would be lost. These are listed on the main CTC15 GitHub page.

The projects included:

  • Four projects looking at the data from the sensors that we were building, and other data sources, data flows, data modelling, data visualisation.
  • One looking at how the project would have a life beyond the weekend.
  • Another creating a register of devices which could alert the host if the device went dark for any time.
  • Another looking at how the sensor device design could be changed to use a LoraWAN network, rather than domestic wifi in order to upload the sensor data.

The teams are listed on the GitHub page and links are there to each project repo.

We have videos of the final presentations which we will upload and link from here soon.

Team LoraFWUINN testing a Lorwan enabled sensor
Team LoraFWUINN testing a Lorwan enabled sensor

Beyond CTC15

At the end of the event there was enormous interest in keeping this going.

Team LoraFWUINN said that they are going to continue working to enable a device to use Lorawan networks.

Team Visionaries had sketched out a plan for the next year. This included

  • increasing the number of Aberdeen-based sensors from about 20 in February to 50 in July and 100, if we can, by the end of the year.
  • Branding, a group name, a Twitter account, and Instagram account and had worked with Ian Nebbiolo on creating a website, as well as a means of registering devices to allow checks for their being online.
  • Governance and support for the project.

We need to incorporate into that plan how we keep the data parts of the project alive – and link with Clean Air Sheffield, Eastbourne, Bristol, Waterlooville and other groups, to support each other.

If you are interested in getting involved please email to receive information about how you can participate and what happens next.