header image for Civic Sense

Civic Sense

From Taiwan to the whole world, let’s help communities get the data they need to monitor their changing environment. When communities have access to sensors, it’s “civic sense”.

The idea of a “Internet of Things”, or connections between objects (and not between people) has existed for over a decade now, and such systems have been installed in a range of industries. The idea of the “Civic Internet of Things” refers to the installation of internet of things systems by and for citizen groups. These can be used to monitor the maintenance and safety of buildings, to help mitigate the effect of natural disasters, or for use in agriculture (among many other uses).

OCF is collaborating with groups around the world and Taiwanese businesses to help local communities install and operate open-source environmental sensors. We are sending Taiwanese waterboxes and airboxes to communities and training them on how to install and monitor the devices. These devices will generate open access data to empower communities to understand their local environment and how it is changing over time.

OCF wants to demonstrate the importance of a civic Internet of Things and encourage more communities to consider installing open-source sensors. Through open source design and development, these devices can be tailored to meet local needs and work according to local infrastructure availability.

We believe in the power of international collaboration across the private and public sector. We want to encourage Taiwanese enterprises to get involved with civic tech communities and open source development and allow more communities worldwide to have access to low-cost environmental sensors that they are in control of.

Follow OCF and our partner communities on this project and see how our sensors are being used abroad.

Watch the playlist from our first webinar and check out the notes from the Q&A here

Partner Communities

Learn more about our partner communities below.


Asia Institute of Technology (AIT), is a higher education organization providing students with graduate degrees in Khlong Luang, just 40km north of Bangkok. AIT trains many of Thailand’s next generation of scholars and leaders. OCF will be collaborating with AIT’s School of Engineering to work on two projects to monitor air pollution.

The first will be focused on the AIT campus, located in greater Bangkok. This area compromises residential, education, and industrial areas. Since 2018 the PM2.5 situation has been a priority issue in greater Bangkok, and AIT currently lacks sufficient access to data. By installing air box sensors around the campus, AIT hopes to closely work together to ensure a better environment.

The second project will be focused on Thailand’s Eastern Environmental Corridor. In collaboration with the Pollution Detection Agency, AIT will run a trial to try to improve the efficiency of their current monitoring efforts with a goal of increasing the amount of pollution monitoring stations across the region.


The Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI) is the culmination of a number of years of disparate participatory media, ICT, and capacity building trainings for marginalized groups and indigenous communities. MAJI uses low-cost human cantered design and FLOSS technologies to democratize information dissemination, increase awareness and provide the platform for sustainable interactions between target groups. MAJI focusses on environmental, human, gender and digital rights.

OCF will be collaborating with MAJI to bridge MAJI’s Sootmap Project and our Civic Sense project. The Sootmap Project, which is supported by the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) is targeted at creating a sustainable community network through the use of citizen science methodologies and FLOSS technology for the reduction of air pollution in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. OCF will provide airboxes to this project and provide training to MAJI to help them with installation. These air boxes will be installed in different communities across the Niger Delta region and will help produce pm2.5 data in a region seriously lacking available data.

SPACE, Kerala

The Society for the Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment, Kerala (SPACE Kerala) is a registered society that has members from academia, the IT industry, professional societies such as IEEE and Computer Society of India, and the IT Administration of the Government of Kerala. The vision of SPACE is to promote the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in academics, governance, corporate and individual use, and to support the use of FOSS for employment generation in Kerala.

OCF will be working with SPACE Kerala to improve water quality monitoring in the Nallathanni River in Munnar, Kerala State as part of the India High Range Mountain Landscape (IHRML) Project organised in collaboration with The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Kerala’s Haritha Keralam Mission. The river has been polluted due to commercial establishments/ sectors, and solid waste dumping yards in the upstream, but there is currently little data on the current water quality. To address this SPACE Kerala will install water boxes from Taiwan’s LASS community which will be operated and maintained by SPACE Kerala in partnership with the local community in Munnar. The LASS devices are fully open source and open hardware, which will allow SPACE to modify the source code and send the data to a local open data platform, and even hack the device to add additional/new modules if desired.


Event cover image for Civic Sense Webinar 3

Civic Sense Webinar 3

Contributor : Singing Li singing , Leaf Tseng 葉子 , Sam Robbins 翔鈞

The goal for this webinar was to understand the goals of each community and to determine which groups to collaborate with

Event cover image for Civic Sense Webinar 1/2

Civic Sense Webinar 1/2

Contributor : Singing Li singing , Leaf Tseng 葉子 , Sam Robbins 翔鈞

Open Culture Foundation hopes to demonstrate the importance of the Internet of Things for citizen groups and encourage more communities to use open source monitors. Through open source design, there is more possibility of research, modification and re-release, so it the monitors can be adjusted appropriately according to the needs of the local community and any restrictions that might exist.