After this week’s upcoming webinar for the Partners In Research’s Hour of Code, I will have only one more presentation to lead in 2018. After a busy year of conferences, seminars, workshops, and interviews, it is nice to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
My final presentation will take place during the ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meetings in Ottawa. While the conference runs from December 10-14, my talk (which will be co-presented with my grad student, Nic Durish) will take place on Wednesday, December 12, sometime between 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm.
The presentation will be made up of two parts – the formal presentation I just mentioned, as well as a poster presentation that runs during the evenings of the 11th and 12th. The former will provide an overview of potential technologies that could be used to bridge the digital divide in the Circumpolar North (with a focus on wireless mobile mesh networks), while the latter will describe the methods used to measure the current state of connectivity in the Inuit community of Rigolet. The full abstract is provided below.
While ArcticNet will represent the last of the conferences I attend in 2018, it in no way implies that there won’t be another crop of conferences in 2019. I’m currently drafting abstracts for the Labrador Research Forum, and will next focus on developing abstracts for the Inuit Studies Conference. After that, I’ll need to draft something to submit to the Annual Teaching & Learning Innovations conference, and the Annual Society for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Conference!
Here’s to another year full of insightful and inspiring conferences.
If you are a grade 9-12 teacher who wants to take part in the Hour of Code, my live webinar “More than a Code Monkey” will take place on December 7th, from 11:00 am – 11:30 am (Eastern). You can register for the event by clicking here.
MORE THAN A CODE MONKEY
Admit it – when you think of a computer scientist, you likely picture someone who spends their nights playing video games or interpreting binary streams that cascade across their monitor – but computer science is more than the collection of wires and circuits that make up a computer. In this webinar, Dr. Daniel Gillis will share several examples of community-engaged computer science projects to demonstrate how students can use computer science to improve life.
Bridging the digital divide to support community-based monitoring in the Circumpolar North
While community-based monitoring has been identified as an important method for tracking and adapting to the impacts of climate change, many communities in the Circumpolar North lack the necessary information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure required to support the collection and dissemination of data relevant to these programs. In particular, low internet bandwidth, slower internet speeds, and often a complete lack of cellular connectivity limit the ability of Northern communities to collect and share environment and health data that have been identified by communities as necessary for the development of intervention and adaptation strategies.
This is evident in the Inuit community of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, where community members have been piloting the eNuk health and environment monitoring program. Led by the Rigolet community and developed in partnership with researchers from the University of Guelph, the Labrador Institute of Memorial University, and the University of Alberta, as well as the Nunatsiavut Government, eNuk has been designed to allow users to record observations while in the community and off on the land using hand held mobile devices. Data that are collected on hand held devices are made available through on online website only when users are directly connected to the internet or through wireless signal. This limitation, coupled with limited ICT infrastructure is a bottleneck (at best) in the community-based monitoring program. At worst, it represents a potential health risk because information pertaining to safety issues (e.g. poor ice conditions) is not transmitted in real-time.
To bridge the digital divide, the community is exploring alternative ICT known as wireless mobile mesh networks. Wireless mobile mesh networks are formed using a collection of mesh-enabled devices that have Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and/or Bluetooth capabilities. In particular, these capabilities are used to create connections between devices instead of to a central device like a Wi-Fi router or cell phone tower. The resulting mesh network is capable of passing data from one device another. In this way networks can form where they are needed, as they are needed, without the overhead of installing and maintaining complicated and potentially costly ICT.
In this discussion, we will begin with an overview of the community-led eNuk software, and outline design considerations that need to be made to accommodate the resulting lack of ICT infrastructure in the community of Rigolet. Wireless mobile mesh networks will be described; including considerations such as relevant device density required to sustain a dynamic network, maximum distance between devices to sustain a data linkage, transfer speeds, and more. This will also include a broader discussion of their potential to facilitate the collection and dissemination of data within community-based monitoring programs such as the eNuk health and environment software, and the design considerations required to implement them.