Eureka 2.0: collaborative urban prospecting

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Last week our pals at Gizmodo stumbled on an Instructables project for hacking a metal detector with a hydrocarbon sensor. The goal: use it to find oil you can extract and sell for $$$ OR locate underground toxins, so you can try to sue whoever put them there (win win, if you ask me).

When I spoke with project founder Col. Jon Cohrs a few days ago, he was racing to finish assembling another 5 detectors for the Futuresonic festival in Manchester. But why?Cohrs* started today with a 3-day installation in which he’ll lead teams of volunteer prospectors around the streets, tunnels and back alleys of Manchester (a port city, like Greenpoint, where Cohrs first began urban prospecting).

Can’t get to Manchester, but want to experience Rush 2.0**?

With help from the folks at bliin, a GPS-fueled social network, Cohrs is using mapping software to post the group’s findings in real-time: photos and, potentially, little derrick icons with specific readings representing any hot spots. There’s a Twitter feed, too.

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Still not interested? This tongue-in-cheek infomercial prob won’t help:

“Being green has never been this lucrative & hip”

“It’s a little bit over the top,” Cohrs admits, “But I do take the environmental part of this project very seriously. This device can remove a level of abstraction for people who want to discover what toxic deposits may be lurking beneath their communities.”


*Disclosure: Cohrs is a friend of a friend; we had never met or spoke until now.

**my liberal use of “2.0” was meant to be ironic. I think. Probably. [Irony 2.0? – Ed.]

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