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First, what I'm trying to achieve is to implement a gis-based platform in the context of a smartcity. So basically I'll need many layers, some are static like gaz,water circuits, hospitals ...., some are crowd-sourcing based (citizen's reports). The third type of layers I need is sensor-based.

Now for the last layer my problem is that I don't have actual sensors at hand. So what I'm looking for is : is there a sensor emulator, or a sensor data generator of some kind that could feed me random/fake data (temperature,CO2 pourcentage ...) ?

I'm using geoserver as my back-end and I plan to communicate with it using the WFS protocol using openlayers/leaflet as a client. And I can imagine the existance of a program that periodically sends data to geoserveur (via WFT-T maybe, or direct access to the PostGIS database). Which would simulate the actions of a sensor. I read about a protocol called SOS, I don't know if I need it in my case.

Notes : - This is my Master's final project and I have about 2.5 months left - My tool choice is not final (In case another backend/frontend would help me better) - For now I'm looking for sensors in fixed locations, which will be displayed as points or markers on the map.

So to sum up, I'm seeking guidance on how to simulate a sensor and feed the results to a backend GIS server. Any advice is welcome

  • In my experience, faking data is 2-3 times harder than using real data. It usually eats a significant chunk of my project time when my customer "can't provide data yet". Since your project seems to be based on data that may not be collected for years, possibly decades (and even then may not ever be publicly released), you seem to have added significantly to your workload. Good luck. – Vince Mar 22 '15 at 3:06
  • I'm realizing that now and it's too late to change. Maybe my mentor should've warned me about the lack of data. I liked the subject because it meant doing something for my city. I'll contact him to help me find a solution, by finding actual data (maybe data from another city) or doing something else entirely (not sensor based) – youcef nafa Mar 24 '15 at 11:12
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@Vince makes a very valid point in his comment. However here's a few ideas you could consider as a means of completing your Masters project.

  • Meteorological station data: there is a lot of met-station data available on the web both as live RSS feeds and as historic tabular data that you could use to fake an RSS feed. Availability will depend on your location but even if you couldn't get something for your locality of interest, then since it is acknowledged to be fake, you could use a suitable feed from some other location but be explicit in your dissertation as to why (and how your chosen data is analogous in some way to real data). This will cover some of your requirements.
  • Many cities have CO2 monitors. I would approach you local city authorities to see if you can access the data. You might not get a live feed but you could get historic data from which you can simulate a live feed.
  • I don't know what else you need but traffic is very often available in live feeds. Depending on your project, could you use this as a prediction of air quality, perhaps along with pollen-count data.

Basically, a lot of what you want is out there and need not be faked, other than perhaps 'transplanting' from one location to another. You need to be explicit that it has been 'transplanted' and for demonstration purposes only. One of my first ports of call would be my local municipal council. Certainly in the UK, they collect a surprising amount of data along the lines you mention and there may well be live feeds and historic data that can be used to simulate a live feed. To simulate the live feed, you could simply have a Python program read the historic data and then feed that to GeoServer. Geoserver has a Python API, but the script can be external and feed the data to a data source (e.g. PostGIS), which Geoserver reads.

  • I forgot to mention it, I live in Algeria. I don't think that there's much data available (or any data at all). I'll try to ask around though or else I'll consider "transplanting" as you suggested provided I find good reasons for my choices (ex: similarities). I think I chose the wrong subject for my project and 90% of it will be theory. – youcef nafa Mar 24 '15 at 11:04

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