Earlier this year, NASA and Cisco announced the launch of Planetary Skin, an ambitious global monitoring system of environmental conditions that uses a worldwide network of sensors to analyze, well, everything happening on the planet—i.e. space satellites tracking tidal flows, RFID tags tracing apples from farm to market, electric eyes counting road traffic. Now NASA and Cisco have formally announced the Planetary Skin Institute, the organization that will develop and prototype all the technologies necessary to make the Planetary Skin a reality.
Before the PSI can get started, it needs a cash infusion—$100 million over the next three years, to be exact. NASA and Cisco have already raised over half of the necessary funds, and the organizations expect to have the rest in the next month. That's a good thing for the countries participating in this week's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The Planetary Skin could help public and private institutions of all stripes share their data, making it easier to monitor carbon emissions and food and water supplies. Because while all of the data already exists, there hasn't been a way to view it all in one place—until now.
Want to see what the Planetary Skin might look like? Check out San Francisco's EcoMap, a localized version of the initiative that connects sensors over existing wireless networks to figure out which areas contribute the most to global warming.