Civic Computing

The Technologies and International Development Lab at Georgia Tech researches the practice, the promise, and the peril of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in social, economic, and political development.

The goal of the Atlanta Map Room is to document and reflect upon the connections and disjunctions between civic data and lived experience in the city, through the collaborative creation of large-scale, interpretive maps.
Software-defined networks (SDNs) are managed by a central controller that typically uses a separate, out-of-band network for control traffic. We are working on an intercontinental SDN, the AtlanticWave/SDX, and a secondary network connection would be very costly, so we have designed an in-band network control solution, and have generalized it for other SDNs to use.
Came From Nothing is an interactive documentary that chronicles the incredible life story of Benjamin "Big Mouth Ben" Graham, an entrepreneur and motivational entertainer in Atlanta's Historic Sweet Auburn community. Big Mouth Ben overcame 17 years of addiction and homelessness on Auburn Avenue to open, together with his wife Tanya, a convenience store just two blocks from the same bridge under which he once slept.
This research initiative explores the potentials and challenges of civic and participatory media, investigating a set of research questions that probe the relationship between technology, place, storytelling, and community engagement. The aim is to investigate hybrid platforms that inform and engage local communities through the mediation of shared public spaces, digital media, mapping, and storytelling.
In Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), members of a local community invest upfront in local farms before a harvesting season in return for "shares" of weekly produce. This promotes agricultural & economic prosperity for the farmers & a sense of civic community. Today, CSAs have evolved to reach broader customer groups and often lack a sense of community. Through a user-centered approach, we learned that farmers need better platforms to support CSAs while customers need more information transparency to streamline their CSA journey. We designed a CSA portal to build a stronger CSA ecosystem.
This project is developed through an ongoing collaboration with the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council. Through a series of design workshops and public events, we are co-designing mobile and social technologies to help cultivate a shared community identity to support local civic engagement. By working directly with community members, we are able to build technology platforms suited to their specific needs and which amplify their values and concerns as the community goes through significant changes.
The Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC) is a unique competition open to all Georgia Tech students and is run in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Each year the categories in the CIC are defined by our Industry partners who provide mentorship, judging, and category-specific resources which are often available exclusively to CIC competitors. While the competition is not tied to any specific course, competitors are often able to take advantage of class partnerships where lecture and lab content, guest lectures, and projects are aligned with competition categories.
The Public Lab for Open Science and Technology (Public Lab) is a civic science community of organizers and scientists democratizing environmental science by developing low cost DIY environmental monitoring tools. Public Lab facilitates collaboration and documentation of research through a community built website which allows community members to post wiki pages, research notes, activities, questions and answers, and events. This project investigates the relationship between the data these features cultivate and the cultivation of the community that produces that very data.

The CAT Lab studies how culture impacts the use and production of technology with a focus on learning applications, computer science education and designing new technologies with culture as a point of convergence.

Fifty percent of all trips are 3 miles or less, yet only 1.8% of those trips are biked. Meanwhile, 35.7% of US adults are obese and the transportation sector accounts for 32% of US greenhouse gases. One of the main reasons citizens do not use the healthier mode of cycling is due to a lack of safe infrastructure‚ dedicated bicycle routes, roads with bicycle lanes, and other designated bicycle facilities. The City of Atlanta has a desire to put proper cycling infrastructure in place but needs better information from citizens about where they currently and would like to cycle.
This project explores how community indicator data dashboards can be used as an infrastructure over which to build a community's data literacy.
Understanding and visualizing pedestrian accidents on Buford Highway.
This research investigates how data infrastructures can be designed to meet the data equity and advocacy needs of marginalized communities.
DTM API is a musical data sonification toolset for rapid development and experimentation of web-based audio applications. The API offers a data-agnostic, adaptive, and highly interactive real-time system, with reusable and extendable musical structure models to represent data in various ways. The API is being used in several projects, including in Beltline Social Dashboard, Decatur Civic Sonification with Sonic Generator performance, which is presented at Atlanta Science Festival 2015, in collaboration with GTRI Configurable Lab.

Design and Social Interaction Studio brings an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students together to examine the experiential and participatory dimensions of digital media and their relationship to establishing and supporting democratic forms of social interaction.

Computing and communication technologies for peacemaking, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconciliation.
Computing and communication technologies for peacemaking, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconciliation.
Computing and communication technologies for peacemaking, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconciliation.
Designs for Foraging is a design project that explores the use of IoT technologies in support of urban foraging. Through this project, we are developing use-cases; prototyping hardware, software and user interfaces; and exploring the use of open technologies for image capture and analysis. The underlying motivation for this project is to use design as a means of investigating future practices and to provide the basis for near-term open innovation with IoT in support of alternative practices of agriculture.
This study employs gaming technologies and techniques to create an intelligent encapsulated conversational agent (ECA) to act as a virtual coach who will lower the cognitive effort required by prostate cancer patients to understand key aspects of decision-making, provide more appropriate reference points from which patients more accurately interpret personal risk, and frame information to optimize the patient's chances of applying his own preferences and values to the decision at hand.

The concept that people learn best when they are making something personally meaningful - also known as constructionism - is the lab's guiding philosophy. Computer networks have the potential to facilitate community-supported constructionist learning.

Working with Welcoming Atlanta, part of The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to develop and a responsive iPad application that streamlines organizational knowledge.
For the 2017-18 academic year, HCI master's student Morgan Orangi has been collaborating with Concrete Jungle, a local organization that forages local produce and distributes it to smaller pantries and shelters. The research has involved interviews, contextual inquiry, focus groups, and participatory design workshops to better understand the processes of Concrete Jungle and their partner organizations with the ultimate goal of designing a tool that connects these processes and produces valuable data.
Social media have come to empower social movements across the world. One of the shared conditions that prompt people to turn to computing infrastructures is the collapse or inattention of established institutions to address the physical, social, and cultural conditions of oppression or insecurity. It is within this context that we examined the particular conditions in and around Mexico where citizens have turned to Facebook to catalogue data about local crime.
GTJourney is an opportunity for all members of the Georgia Tech community to collaborate on applications and solutions that benefit the campus. It is a virtual focal point for students, faculty, and staff to develop ideas and solutions, find technical support and resources, advertise and access campus data, and share applications and experiences.
Tracking Hate Speech and Disinformation in the Upcoming Myanmar 2020 Election
Improving the user experience of interactive tools used to collect, maintain, and display tree and fruit data to better support Concrete Jungle’s mission of transforming overlooked and underutilized fruit trees and land into a year round food source for food banks, shelters and people in need.

We are a team of interactive media experts that includes computer scientists, electrical engineers, and graphic artists. IMTC is a multimedia research center at the The Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon touch nearly all of the interactions we have with our world and with the things around us, and the interaction of those things with each other. GT-RNOC is developing a number of IoT-related projects that help students demonstrate and better understand some of the complexity and range of applications that the IoT encompasses.

The Local Data Design Lab is focused on bridging the substantial divide between two complimentary, but largely disconnected areas of work: data studies and data visualization.

Mapping iThemba draws on ethnographic research that Professor Anne Pollock began in 2010 at iThemba Pharmaceuticals (pronounced ee-TEM-ba), a small start-up pharmaceutical company in the outskirts of Johannesburg that was founded in 2009 with the mission of drug discovery for TB, HIV, and malaria. The synthetic chemistry research that scientists do at iThemba is no different than what might be done in a well-equipped lab anywhere in the world. Yet, place matters. The interactive map is an opportunity to explore how.
My House My Rights is a mobile-first, Spanish language website that visually communicates tenants’ rights and resources through a series of illustrated stories. The solution helps the user discover available resources and their basic tenant rights, and understand how they can take immediate action to protect themselves and their home.

The Participatory Publics Lab is a group of researchers concerned with community engagement and design. We are part of the Digital Media program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech.

A tool used for the subversion of algorithmic analysis and surveillance by central network authorities like Facebook and Google.
The Pueblo Connect project is focused on investigating methods for measuring cellular connectivity in rural areas and, more broadly, increasing access to the internet in rural and indigenous communities.
The streetcars run in the heart of downtown. They are subject to unstable operating conditions caused by traffic congestion, basketball games, and obstructed right-of-way. These perturbations make the Atlanta Streetcar prone to streetcar-bunching, which causes undue passenger wait and crowding. We have developped a real-time dispatching method that considers every streetcar on the route to dispatch them with even headways, while maintaining a high frequency of service.
Providing Fulton County with an estimation of how long it will take to vote in the 2020 presidential election.
Pedestrians are the largest group of road-users and they represent a large proportion of road casualties. The researchers have found some evidence that divided attention disrupts walking; making people less likely to notice novel stimuli and more likely to cross a street in a risky fashion. More than 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking, according to a new nationwide study.
Georgia Tech scientists and engineers who are working together to install a network of internet-enabled sea level sensors across Chatham County.
Smart communities have many different network providers, often sharing underground conduits or telephone poles. Their proximity cannot be closer in many cases. Unfortunately, in order for one network to send traffic to the other, providers often much connect through a third party or must send their nearby city to exchange traffic. Further, a network may fail, and there is no alternative for the end user other than to wait for their provider to fix the failure.
A project exploring how people who run in Atlanta might use data generated by city sensor nodes and other sources.
Recent discourses on smart cities have been primarily focused on the deployment of technical infrastructures such as sensor installation, data collection, and security measures. These practices, however, are accompanied with tacit and explicit ideas about ideal cities and human values. This paper presents the preliminary results of an ethnographic study that looks closely at the North Avenue Smart Corridor in Atlanta, Georgia aimed at unpacking the driving ideas behind smart cities initiatives and critically engaging its key assumptions of progress and efficiency.
Smog Solver is an environmental web simulation of how the smog problem can be possibly solved in Beijing. The purpose of this simulation is to educate users about the major causes of smog in Beijing and the solutions through replays. According to the final evaluation, my simulation could effectively help users learn ~92% of the major causes of smog and increase their knowledge of the solutions.
In this project, I designed and developed a research dashboard for researchers to better understand Speech on Twitter.
Conversations with employees and volunteers at the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council in Atlanta, GA revealed that contamination in urban creeks is a major problem. This is especially an issue when neighborhoods sit along sections of the creek that get contaminated and dumped in. Most often, this happens in lower-income neighborhoods where many residents are unaware of trash/recycling guidelines, the local government doesn't feel accountable for the residents, and local businesses view the area as grounds for dumping.
Starting this summer, the Atlanta Streetcar began using a real-time dispatching method developed at Georgia Tech that eliminates the need for schedules and cuts down on passenger wait times. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Kari Watkins and Ph.D student Simon Berrebi developed an algorithm that ensures each vehicle is spaced evenly along the 2.7 mile route in downtown Atlanta, maximizing the frequency of service. Unlike the previous method, the Georgia Tech algorithm uses real-time information.
Can locative media (Augmented and Mixed Reality, web applications, and social networking) serve as a platform for preservation of cultural heritage, informal education, and civic engagement? This is the question at the heart of the Auburn Avenue Research Project, a project that brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines – including media theory, design studies, and human-computer interaction – to engage the above question in theory and practice.

The lab's research focuses on information and communication technologies for social, economic, and political development.

Abstracting of the city's gaze using critical design
COVID-19 and recent racial injustices like the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have highlighted the importance of social ties. Amidst the viral pandemic, many have socially distanced themselves from their social networks, breaking down crucial support systems and creating threats to one's psychosocial well-being. On the other hand, recent racial injustices have also sparked unprecedented social movement that have mobilized social networks to take collective action for social change. As such, both of these stressors emphasize the importance of social ties and network

Under the direction of Dr. Kari Edison Watkins in Civil & Environmental Engineering, UTIL conducts research to improve sustainable transportation through better information.

The Visual Policy Initiative aims to transform complex policy issues into easy to understand data visualizations using empirically-derived evidence. The Visual Policy team is comprised of a group of researchers from both public policy and digital media. Through this collaborative effort, we aim to transform complex policy issues into easy to understand data visualizations using empirically-derived evidence.
Visualization Journalism is focused on developing an interface and graphical metalanguage for massive multimodal news datasets. Such datasets are increasingly available, but for copyright reasons, they cannot be made entirely open to the public. The project seeks to offer an abstracted and legal representation of news data, to enable comparative, cooperative and computer-supported analysis of trends across news events and networks.

Our research group examines how novel interactive computing systems can help people to achieve a state of wellness, as defined by the World Health Organization: "Wellness is the realisation of the fullest potent

A few Fridays ago, the Public Design Workshop (PDW) led a Design and Policy Jam with the Westside Atlanta Land Trust (WALT) Program. WALT's mission is “to organize the community's power for self-determination; to serve and preserve in-place residents, small business owners, and their successive generations in redeveloping areas.” The jam session supported this mission by tasking participants with researching and producing an argument for a city-wide community land trust (CLT) policy.
Westside Soul is an interactive installation that was displayed at the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council's Black History Month Celebration. The installation displays videos of westside residents discussing issues in their community and allows viewers to add new responses through text and video. The installation is part of on ongoing partnership with the westside to explore the use of mobile and social computing and digital media to connect community members and instigate alternate forms of civic engagement.
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