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When a city gets much warmer than surrounding rural areas an urban heat island occurs. This difference in temperature between urban and less populated rural areas has to do with how well the surfaces in each environment absorbs and hold heat. Heat islands happen due to human activities. There’s a whole host of benefits to monitoring these heat islands. For instance, it gives electricity providers data from which they can can plan for sudden demand spikes. It also gives building contractors ideas for different building materials to test and use that have a positive influence a city and its surroundings.

We spoke to Maamar Ayouaz, a PhD student who is using a temperature sensor attached to a LoPy4 to monitored urban heat islands and sending the data over LoRa.


What challenges did you face in your industry that led to you choosing Pycom?  

As part of my studies as a PhD student, I needed to have temperature data for cities. From every street corner to the temperature of the trees, asphalt, sand and tarmac – I needed it! That was when I discovered a real lack of information, even from meteorological agencies. I had to collect and record the data from these urban heat islands. So, I went about seeing how to acquire my own data in real-time!  


How would you describe your process in one sentence prior to using our product?  

I didn’t have the products I needed to monitor urban heat islands. 


Were there any ‘deal breakers’ involved in your decision to become a customer?  

Luckily for me, there were not many deal breakers involved. I had to research what kind of electronic components I needed in order to make a prototype mobile temperature sensor. 


How did you first hear about Pycom? 

I think that I first heard of Pycom from a YouTube video describing the Top 10 IoT projects.  


What most attracted you to our products?   

I knew that Pycom was right for me on three fronts. Firstly, it was simple – it was easy to set up and get started. I remember I started to learn with Pycom and increased my knowledge in electronics in just two months.   

Secondly, the low price was definitely a benefit as my work was self-financed.   

Thirdly, I loved that the programming language used was MicroPython 


How do you use our products in your solution?

For my studies, I needed to identify the urban heat islands. We made two mobile temperature sensors, the LoPy and the SHT31 and fixed them to the roof of the vehicle. The data was collected whist driving along the streets.  

We used the remote sensing satellite, Landsat 8, which was brilliant as it allowed us to synchronise and compare the data collected by our sensors to the data collected by the satellite. 

I also went out into the Sahara to compare results, as a control measure.  

As the primary application of my solution is a temperature and humidity monitor, I envisage two different usage scenarios. In one, the sensor is affixed to a streetlamp, bridge or city wall and remains there for two to five years. In the other, the sensor is attached to the top of a public vehicle, such as a bus or a taxi, and can monitor different areas on the go. 

iot solutions


iot solutions


What results have you seen since implementing them?

There has been a huge increase in the wealth of the data as well as the speed in acquiring it. It is a very low cost project, especially for real-time results!  

urban heat map city

What would you tell others who are undecided about Pycom?  

My advice would be: Go further with Pycom products!  Test them and see how they hold up!  


For more information about this project you can visit: