Leveraging participatory mobile sensing for road infrastructure monitoring [Plan A]

(The successful candidate for this topic will receive a stipend!)


The growing use of mobile technologies in Africa provides an opportunity for mobile phone-based solutions.  Today's mobile devices come equiped with a rich set of sensors such as accelemoter (for orientation), GPS (for location), digital compass (for direction) and microphone (for sound). The availability of portable and rich-sensor mobile devices (e.g., smartphones) has given raise to a new paradigm known as participatory-sensing [3,6]. Using their mobile devices, ordinary citizens and communities collect and share data about their environment as well as well being. Several participatory sensing applications have been conceived ranging from noise environmental monitoring to health well being [6]. Building on this trend, this masters research seeks to leverage the availability of a rich set of sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, camera and compass that come embedded in today’s mobile devices for infrastructure monitoring with a focus on the transportation sector.

Goal & Research Activities

This masters thesis aims to undertake research to explore the use of mobile sensor technology in road infrastructure monitoring in the urban areas of a developing country setting where roads are characterised by highly uneven road surfaces.

The research activities will include: (1) design and/or adaptation of exisiting algorithms and data structures for highly uneven road surfaces. (2) building an open data repository of raw and aggregated data from mobile sensors such as accelerometer and GPS (3) investigating real-time and adaptive visualization (e.g., enriched with context-awareness) (4) exploring automatic "garbage collection" techniques  or "self-destructing" data structures for stale data (i.e., removing of datasets corresponding to repaired road damages) (5) performing pilot case studies, (6) investigating privacy issues and (7) conducting a comparative study of automated participatory sensing vs explicit reporting rwith a view of exploring how the two can complement each other. The exact scope to be refined with the student.

This research will be carried out under the research team of Mobile, Cloud and Internet of Things (MCI). The student will be required to participate in the team's research activities and present progress at the team's research presentations.


This project requires the student to have (or develop) good programming skills. Knowledge of mobile applications programming and AI concepts such as machine-learning is a plus but not a requirement.


  1. The Pothole Patrol: Using a Mobile Sensor Network for Road Surface Monitoring
  2. Nericell: Rich Monitoring of Road and Traffic Conditions using Mobile Smartphones
  3. A Survey of Mobile Phone Sensing 
  4. Wikipedia - Participatory Sensing
  5. NoiseTube - Participatory Sensing for Sustainable Urban Leaving
  6. Participatory Sensing andx2 Participatory Sensing


Engineer Bainomugisha < baino at cis dot mak dot ac dot ug >