Learn to Measure People & the Environment
Project-Based Course on Mobile Devices, the Internet of Things, & Remote Sensing

Seminars: Thu 12-2pm Fall 2015, 202 South Hall

CoLabs: Tue 3:30pm-6pm Fall 2015, BIDS / 190 Doe Library

Instructors: Dav Clark, Javier Rosa & guests from industry, the social sector and academia


Presenters can indicate their free times at this poll

Course Description

This course addresses the fast-growing area of social and environmental measurement using technologies such as mobile devices, “Internet of Things” (or “Web of Things”) style sensors, and remote sensing. We will take a project-based approach, with a classroom discussion each week, followed by a tutorial / practicum in the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Note that the focus of this course is on data collection and management. Teams will likely do some basic visualization and exploratory data analysis; statistics and/or machine learning are not expected. We will leverage support from the Social Science Matrix, the D-Lab, BIDS, and Berkeley Research Computing to provide necessary training, hardware, and compute resources. This course is being offered as a part of the BIDS Collaborative.

Students will work with project clients, who will help determine the project roadmap. Note that the primary goal of the course is educational – solving the client challenges is a vehicle for learning. Credit will only be available to individuals who are selected for project teams (ideal teams will include a balance of individuals with project management, technical, and domain-specific skills). The course will be open to drop-in attendance for all members of the campus community.

Students should either know how to do basic scientific computing or be prepared to learn outside of class (potentially with help from your classmates). In addition, each week will only provide an orientation to the necessary skills – we can’t provide an in-depth introduction to all of these topics in one semester! Students will likely need to do additional learning to develop meaningful skills. Available resources on campus (e.g., in D-Lab and BIDS) will be advertised to course participants.


Students enrolled in the class will get an A if they do all of the following, a B if they partially complete at least all 3 items, and an incomplete otherwise. This is meant to be a very light burden:

  1. Take notes or collect followup notes for at least one class,
  2. Make some progress on a project, document this, share it with another team, and incorporate feedback, and
  3. Provide such feedback to another team

Pre-requesite to the above are participation in the basic class systems organized around GitHub. At a minimum, you will need to have a GitHub account that gets associated with the class website and join our Gitter chat forum to communicate with the class.

For (3), please start with the template for providing feedback.