Sensing technologies are often divorced from the materialities of the phenomena being sensed.The Pollen Project is a design research project using mixed media to reunite the materialities of pollen with its measurement and communication. The city of Atlanta, Georgia has one of the highest annual pollen counts of any city in the United States. Every Spring, pollen blankets the city. Pollen counts are orders of magnitude greater than the threshold set for a High pollen count by the National Allergy Bureau. But these numbers fail to communicate the experience of living with pollen — they give privilege to the codified over the anecdotal.

The pollen map provides a way for individuals to view the collective experience of pollen in their neighborhood. The pollen map is a digital map integrated with text and images from social media. The map searches Twitter and Flickr for keywords and geo-located content. Users can navigate the text and images temporally and spatially through the map as an interface. This pollen map expresses the experience of living with pollen. It procedurally constructs a community narrative from an aggregate of tweets and images. The map affords the uncovering of sentiment through the reports of an emergent public.

With Georgia Tech's Public Design Workshop