Participatory Urban Sensing emphasizes the involvement of individuals and community groups in the process of sensing and documenting where they live, work, and play. It can range from private, personal observations to the combination of data from hundreds, or even thousands, to reveal patterns across a city.

UCLA's Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) puts Urban Sensing into action in projects that span a broad spectrum of subjects such as public health and wellness, environmental science and sustainability, urban planning, and cultural expression. For a listing of projects, visit their Web site. Examples of projects include:

Cyclesense—CENS is designing an application that runs on mobile phones that enables bike commuters to log their bike route using GPS and provide geo-tagged annotations (images, text notes) along with automatic sensor data (accelerometer/sound) to infer the roughness and traffic density of the road. Using this information, CENS plans to create an interface to enable bike commuters to plan their route based on both safety and interest vectors. They are currently running a pilot, Biketastic, in which bikers can share their routes which are automatically annotated by noise level, roughness, variation in elevation and duration of stops.

Family Dynamics—CNES is working with UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior to develop technologies to document key features of a family's daily interactions (e.g., co-location, family meals, and consistency). The first coaching tool being prototyped is Andwellness, a personal health self-management application for the Android phones that supports flexible geo-spatial, social and activity triggered reminders and ecological momentary assessment.

Personal Environmental Impact Report (PIER)This online tool allows you to use your mobile phone to explore and share how you impact the environment and how the environment impacts you.