The AR-4-Basel project is a framework by which public data about a city, the city of Basel more specifically, can be put in the hands of Augmented Reality developers using a variety of tools and platforms and to encourage the development community to be creative. Many scenarios for AR in urban environments are for consumers. The end goal being that if we knew more about our immediate environments, we might make different decisions.

The departments of the city of Basel with whom I'm in communications are primarily thinking of the Internet of Things, and AR in particular, as a professional tool, enabling people to do their job more efficiently when in the field, perhaps to save on resources/reduce waste (increase efficiency) and to make better decisions which might impact their lives or those of others.

So, in the context of this project, I'm spending a lot of time speaking with experts and reading the opinions of those much more informed in these matters of "smart cities" than I. Martijn de Waal is one of those that has invested highly of himself in this topic and clearly "gets it."

One of the posts that I found particularly enlightening is a "dialog" of sorts between Ed Borden of Pachube and Adam Greenfield of Urbanscale. Rather than read my paraphrasing, please read it.

At this point, the jury is out on if these are really different positions and if different, which of these positions best characterizes the situation. It is early enough that cities (BigGov) and their managers (politicians) could "wake up" and take a more active role in their own technology use. But not all citizens want or should be participating in the decisions that require having all (and some of it sensitive) data. And, it is definitely true that citizens can and should be involved in some of these services which primarily benefit them.

I look forward to seeing this dialog continue and to learning more from the experts in this field. Maybe as a small citizen of a small urban area in a small country, I will be able to make a difference in how others live.