Researchers at UCLA's Center for Embedded Network Sensing labs are combining GPS and accelerometer sensing in Nokia devices to capture location & speed data for modeling individual travel habits. The intention of the project is to use the data to assess individual environmental impact and carbon footprints, while equally assessing exposure to unhealthy environmental contaminants and polluted areas. A sign up page is available here for those interested in volunteering their own mobile location data.
This project got me thinking... What if mobile products contained other sensors like altimeters, thermometers, barometers, hydrometers, anemometers, canary-in-a-coal mine CO2 and gas detectors, or perhaps even a biosensor that detects airborne diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis and SARS? If billions of mobile users all had these sensors in their phones along with GPS, the mobile masses could collectively create weather data, map air quality, and pinpoint infectious disease cases all on hyperlocalized scales previously not possible.