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Citisense : Using Environmental Data and mobile technologies for better health

Nima Nikzad of CitiSense will present their latest findings related to mobile health. CitiSense is a participatory air quality sensing system that bridges the gap between personal sensing and regional measurement to provide micro-level detail at a regional scale. It tracks individual exposure to air pollution through an complete, end-to-end monitoring system: a body-worn sensor board, a mobile phone application for presenting feedback to users, and a back-end server for presenting personal exposure history and further analysis.

Bio: Nima Nikzad is a researcher on the CitiSense project and a PhD student in the department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. His current research focuses on continuous, wireless health and exposure monitoring systems and the challanges that arise when building such systems. In particular, he is interested in issues of energy management, networking, and user-context recognition.

Summary: Environmental exposures are a critical component in the development of chronic conditions such as asthma and cancer. Yet, medical and public health practitioners typically must depend on sparse regional measurements of the environment that provide macro-scale summaries. Recent projects have begun to measure an individual’s exposure to these factors, often utilizing body-worn sensors and mobile phones to visualize the data. Such data, collected from many individuals and analyzed across an entire geographic region, holds the potential to revolutionize the practice of public health.

In a user study of 16 commuters using CitiSense, measurements were found to vary significantly from those provided by official regional pollution monitoring stations.

Moreover, applying geostatistical kriging techniques to our data allows CitiSense to infer a regional map that contains considerably greater detail than official regional summaries. These results suggest that the cumulative impact of many individuals using personal sensing devices may have an important role to play in the future of environmental measurement for public health.


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  • Terje N.

    Excellent presentation!

    November 27, 2012

6 went

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