Skip to main content

Open Gauges – Physical and Digital Data Display Devices

By Data Visualisation, Github, Physical Data Devices No Comments

Developed at the Connected Environments Lab at The Centre for Advanced Spatial AnalysisUniversity College London, the Open Gauges Project was launched in October 2021 as part of the Module on Sensor Data Visualisation (CASA0019) within the MSc in Connected Environments.

The Open Gauges Github Repository provides full access to the original Fusion 360 design files, .STL files to 3D print gauges, code and graphics for the gauge dials. It also allows new gauges/code to be uploaded into new branches via the Gibhub page.

The project aims to allow open-source data gauges to be built, modified, and viewed as both physical (3d printed) and digital gauges.

Depending on the user’s preference the models can be made to run from any online data source  – such as an MQTT feed – from Weather Data with Air Pressure, Temperature, Wind Speed etc though to Air Quality Gauges, Noise Meters, Energy etc. The project was created by Professor Andrew Hudson-Smith and Dr Valerio Signorelli.

A total of 5 Dial Graphics are provided in this initial release – sized to fit into the 3D printed cases.

The 5 Dial Graphics are – Temperature (-10 to 40 oC), Wind Speed (0-60 mph), Wind Dir (0 – 360), Air Pressure (950 – 1050 mb) and Co2 (400 – 1400 ppm).

In addition to reading the MQTT data and using the Servo Easing Library for the servo, the code also includes a time function, allowing the gauge to turn the LED lights/Servo on and off at set times. This is used to turn off at night and on again in the morning.

The code can be used to create any gauge with a range from 180 to 360 degrees using a standard SG90 servo. A gear train is used to extend the servo range with the ability to calibrate in the code. On load, the servo performs a sweep function, to aid the calibration process.

Open Gauges Dials

The aim was to make displaying data, via both a physical and digital device, as easy as possible – to recreate the simplicity of a gauge but to update it to use current data standards.

Open Gauges - Technical Drawing

Due to its simplicity, the design can be edited to accommodate a range of styles, from dual displays through to retrofitting old devices. Indeed retrofitting (only if a device is beyond repair of course) can give new life to old barometers, barographs, pressure gauges etc, all with the same code and design.

At the present time (October 22nd, 2021) this page is under development with new designs, a full walkthrough of how to make one, an Augmented Reality Version and new examples (such as Air Quality) incoming.

To underline the developing nature of the project – see our Neopixel Barometer Open Gauge, included 28th October 2021, the Open Energy Gauge graphic, included 9th November 2021 and the Voltmeter Gauge, added 11th November 2021 over at the Connected Environments site and the Open Weather Map NeoPixel Barometer, here on Digital Urban (June, 2022).

The gauges are made to be as simple as possible to make but allow enough flexibility to allow them to be used to display a wide range of data types, the parts list below provides details for the full gauge, with lighting.

Parts List

The main parts are:

  • Node MCU Arduino Board – we have been using the (MakerHawk boards). However, any Arduino compatiable board will suffice, the ease of using the above boards is the code will work without and changes to the pins.
  • SG90 Servo – any SG90 style servo will work, we would however recommend the MG90S Micro Servo as it provides a smoother travel to the gauage pointer.
  • Lights – Pimorini White LED Backlight Module – 38.7mm x 11.9mm x 2mm, although any low power led will also suffice
  • PLA for 3D Printing – Any PLA for the main parts, the dials graphics are printed on paper and laid flat on a disc (see 3D Printer Files) printed in transparent PLA. This can be left out but it allows the dial to lay flat and provides a nice diffused light. eSun Transparent PLA works well.

Incoming Metaverses: Digital Mirrors for Urban Planning

By 30 Days in ActiveWorlds, Metaverse, Mirror Worlds, Second Life No Comments

The planning process has been, arguably, slow to adapt and adopt new technologies: It is perhaps only now that it is starting to move into a more digitally focused era. Yet, it is not the current thinking around the digital that is going to change planning; it is the emerging metaverse. It is a change on the near horizon that is there but is currently largely unseen in the urban planning profession. The metaverse is, at first sight, a mirror to the current world, a digital twin, but it is more than this: It is an inhabited mirror world where the physical dimensions and rules of time and space do not necessarily apply. Operating across scales, from the change of use of a building up to a local plan and onwards to the scale of future cities, these emerging metaverses will exist either directly within computational space or emerge into our physical space via augmented reality. With economic systems operating via blockchain technology and the ability to instigate aspects of planning law, interspaced with design fiction type scenarios, they represent a new tool kit for the urban planner, spatial, economic, and social. We explore these emerging spaces, taking a look at their origins and how the use of game engines have allowed participation and design to become part of the workflow of these 3D spaces. Via a series of examples, we look at the current state of the art, explore the short term future, and speculate on digital planning using these incoming metaverses 10 years from now.

Part of the paper is a look at the current state of ‘digital’ planning – the paper is open source and free to download directly from Cogitatio Press.


Hudson-Smith, A., & Batty, M. (2022). Ubiquitous geographic information in the emergent Metaverse. Transactions in GIS, 26, 1147– 1157.

Ubiquitous geographic information in the emergent Metaverse

By Metaverse, papers No Comments

Another new paper – this time with Michael Batty –

We sketch a brief history of the development of virtual geographic environments which build on online gaming, three-dimensional representations of cities, and the notion that computer technologies are now so all-pervasive that many different models of the same phenomenon, in this case, geospatial systems, can now be built. This enables new forms of analysis that let us explore future spatial scenarios which address key urban problems through virtual environments. These allow us to experiment with the near future and to this end, we identify three key issues. First, we look at how we can use new technologies to develop all-embracing digital environments which are loosely called the “Metaverse”; second, the development of many models which form various kinds of digital twins having different degrees of “closeness” to the real system; and third, the emergence of platform economies that are beginning to push Metaverse-like technologies into the economic world of networked markets. We conclude with suggestions that these technologies can be used to inform our plan-making capabilities, for example, through geodesign, and we suggest how we might address the key challenges that need to be addressed to make their approaches ever more relevant to urban planning.

You can read the full paper over the Transactions in GIS – Hudson-Smith, A., & Batty, M. (2022). Ubiquitous geographic information in the emergent Metaverse. Transactions in GIS, 26, 1147– 1157.

Land Use Policy

Applying cybernetic principles to the co-creation of spaces

By online planning, papers, planning No Comments

Another new paper, written with a number of colleagues from The Bartlett School of Planning –

The paper is based on the experience of creating and piloting a functioning ‘Incubator’ crowdsourcing platform for designing public spaces in an estate regeneration project in South London. The paper uses a cybernetics framework to analyse and present the way the platform itself was created and how issues of effectiveness, efficiency and equity were dealt with. It explores the generic qualities of interface and reviews applications of variety reduction in established crowdsourcing CS) models. It briefly presents the legal and socio-spatial parameters (like property rights) associated with the creation of the Incubators platform as well as the generic rules applicable to human-spatial relationships, based on studies exploring human-spatial interactions. Practical constraints including costs, catchments, life-span and meaningful feedback are looked into, followed by a discussion on social and political limitations associated with this form of public participation. 

It can be read in full in Land Use Policy – Designing an incubator of public spaces platform: Applying cybernetic principles to the co-creation of spaces.

Close Menu

About Salient

The Castle
Unit 345
2500 Castle Dr
Manhattan, NY

T: +216 (0)40 3629 4753