Sensing the Environment

  • Jan TheunisEmail author
  • Matthias Stevens
  • Dick Botteldooren
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Recent advances in sensing technologies are leading to the development of miniaturised sensors that could be used as stand-alone devices, connected to smartphones or even embedded in smartphones. These sensors and apps create opportunities for more detailed environmental monitoring, as compared to official monitoring networks, and to involve the general public in environmental monitoring through participatory data collection and monitoring schemes. However, depending on the aspects of the environment that are monitored, technical complexity can differ quite a lot. Proper monitoring often requires important efforts in developing and validating sensing devices and in processing the collected data. This chapter deals with low-cost sensing devices and smartphone applications for physico-chemical environmental parameters, that can be used, possibly with some training, by non-specialised people, and as such create new opportunities for collection of novel data and improved monitoring of the environment. It starts with examples of novel sensing devices and apps for different environmental domains, and proceeds with a detailed overview of the possible added value, the technical challenges and future prospects in two specific domains that recently received a lot of interest, air quality and sound monitoring.


Sound Level Black Carbon Concentration Sound Level Meter Field Calibration Mobile Monitoring 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Theunis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthias Stevens
    • 2
  • Dick Botteldooren
    • 3
  1. 1.VITO Flemish Institute for Technological ResearchMolBelgium
  2. 2.Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) Research GroupUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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