Energy of Transport
Electric mobility makes it easy and fun to get from point A to point B, but our range is limited by battery capacities. Personal mobility devices use lightweight batteries and need regular charging. Users of such devices have to rely on the availability of power outlets along the way to further destinations.
At the Swiss Open Energy Data Hackdays in April 2016 we sketched an app, prototyped a basic idea, and proposed some open/crowdsourced datasets that could allow users of personal mobility new levels of freedom of movement.
Next data sources
Our next steps are plug in open data sources and/or create a crowdsourced databases to collect the following information:
Currently we use Google Maps API to obtain accurate elevation profiles of streets. We would welcome suggestions of other sources of such information. Users of apps like Ride With GPS help to create accurate GPS profiles, but this data is not shared with third parties.
Electric Vehicle battery data
While there are plenty of individual community projects (e.g. Segway Battery FAQ), there does not seem to be any wider effort underway to collect specifications about the power characteristics of personal mobility. Information such as the different ranges, top speeds, drive system (motor) power (wattage), maximum inclines, could be compiled and cross-referenced.
Public concerns about "electronic mobility aids" catching fire in transport that have led to bans on most flight carriers could also be potentially mitigated or better discussed publicly with access to comprehensive and accurate information about their engineering.
Public electric sockets
PlugShare ("the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network with a database of 50,000+ charging stations" -FAQ) connects EV users with charging locations. According to data.gov, much of the data is sourced in the USA from the Energy Department's Application Programming Interface (API) for the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
In Europe, the non-profit association LEMnet.org collects and distributes this kind of data. We only discovered them after the hackathon and will look into using it next.
Construction sites and other obstacles to personal mobility, status of traffic lights, special lanes for electric vehicles - there is a world of data possibilities in this area. The Opendata.ch Transport Working Group in Switzerland and similar efforts worldwide are opening data sources to enrich applications like this one. For example, see Geneve Velo, another hackathon project.
We are fascinated by data visualisation in Virtual/Augmented/3D/Printed/QR/NFC and other "tangible" contexts, and are keen to explore interfaces for our application that allow viewing such information on the go. Here are some inspiring commercial and research projects which make this connection of personal mobility and new data sources and new data interfaces: Daqri, RideOnVision, Catapult (dailydot), In-place Augmented Reality (researchgate.net)