Urban Smellscapes: What is the smell of your city?



Think about your nose. Now think about big data. You probably didn’t realize it, but your nose is a big data machine. Humans are able to potentially discriminate more than one trillion different odors.

On one hand, we have our big data nose; on the other hand, we have city officials and urban planners who deal only with the management of less than ten bad odors out of a trillion. Why this negative and oversimplified perspective? Smell is simply hard to measure. (Urban Smellscape)


Daniele Quercia, Luca Maria Aiello, Rossano Schifanella, and Kate McLean have developed a way of capturing te urban smellscape from social media data. The researchers had smell walks in seven cities in UK, Europe, and USA to collect smell data. They also asked citizens to walk around the cities to identify distinct odors and to note them. Then the researcher related this data with data collected through social media. For details check Urban Smellscape.




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