Research review: Mapping the MITCampus

Mapping the MITCampus in Real Time Using WiFi; MIT, Boston

Between 2005 and 2008, researchers at the SENSE-able City Laboratory, MIT, Boston, conducted an overall mapping on the WiFi usage at the MIT campus. The project was “possibly the first to use and analyze log files […] and to produce spatial visualizations of the observed activity in real time.”(Sevtsuk et al. 2008)⁠. They analysed 3000 access points, provided the log files from the campus Internet service provider. Their intention was to analyse spatial patterns of traffic and examine the spatial impact of the wireless communication networks “from the point of view of an urban planner or architect.” The research particularly focused on the question if wireless communication was causing an increasing mobility in individual working patterns. This assumption is based on a study by Dal Fiore, Goldman, and Hwang from 2006 (Goldman 2007)⁠, that focused on changes in the ways people use the campus facilities for living and working, caused by an increasing number of students bringing their laptops to campus; or “the impact of WiFi on people’s spatial preferences” . The Senseable City Laboratory produced also a real-time map visualisation to illustrate the space/time usage patterns and allow user interaction, displaying data in the form of color-coded maps and time graphs.



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