Notes from the Field: Wardriving and Warflying: Collecting Accurate Spectrum and Coverage Data in Indian Country
Recently, our team has been working with the IT directors and network administrators for four sovereign Native nations and one rural county in northern New Mexico to try to extend middle-mile infrastructure across and through political jurisdictions. One challenge that our team has encountered pertains to the difficulty in locating and acquiring adequate spectrum licensing for TV white space base stations to serve locations in scenarios where fiber-to-the-home is not an immediate possibility. Our team has had to work through numerous challenges to accomplish what we initially thought would be a relatively procedural task. Contemplating the challenges helps us to discern the broader social, political, and technological implications for national misrepresentation of coverage and connectivity data, particularly in light of the social distancing requirements for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks. A blog piece on our work was published to the Network Sovereignty Blog of the The Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab
To expand Internet access on the Santa Clara pueblo, our team has installed a 6Harmonics TVWS base station. First trialed as a stationary link, the team is now working on installing a TVWS receiver on a truck to provide a mobile WiFi hotspot to reservation residents. This is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, where shelter-in-place orders have amplified the need for Internet access so successfully navigate remote learning, work at home, telehealth, and other critical applications. Our team is monitoring performance and usage of the TVWS link to better ready this technology for more widescale usage across rural regions. Images are of the installation of the TVWS base station at Santa Clara pueblo.
In January 2020, team member Prof. Morgan Vigil-Hayes presented a “Wireless 101” talk at the NSF Technical Workshop titled “Wireless and Network Performance Measurement, Protocol Tuning, and Design Improvement for Small Campuses / Tribal Colleges / Universities / Community Colleges” at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Our work on Twitter during the 2018 midterm election and how social media campaigns like #NativeVote influenced the representation of Native people was published in the Indian Country Today.
Our publication titled Complex, Contemporary, and Unconventional: Characterizing the Tweets of the #NativeVote Movement and Native American Candidates through the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections has received the CSCW 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award. This paper is authored by Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst and Marisa Elena Duarte, and was published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (3), November 2019.
Complex, Contemporary, and Unconventional: Characterizing the Tweets of the #NativeVote Movement and Native American Candidates through the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections
In the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, a record number of Native American candidates ran for office at all levels of government. To better understand how these 104 candidates intersected with Indigenous political issues and movements to increase Native American voter turnout, we study 723,269 tweets about or by these candidates and 15,476 tweets associated with the #NativeVote movement between October 6, 2018 and February 5, 2019. We use a mixed methods approach to identify issues that emerge in the Native Candidates data set, including issues of representation and protean usage of the “Make America Great Again” hashtag (#maga). When examining the feeds of selected candidates, we find that there can be a disconnect between the issues that candidates align themselves with on social media and the issues that they are associated with by others. We also find evidence of Indigenous issues spanning a vast political spectrum and being coupled with other issues in different ways by different candidates and audiences. Finally, we examine the intersection between Native American candidates and the #NativeVote movement to discover emergent issue networks, including networks around voter suppression and Indigenous political action. Critically, we discuss how our interdisciplinary Indigenous feminist approach to social media analysis illuminates issues of marginalized communities in both a systematic and inductive manner that allows us to discover new patterns and issues with limited a priori knowledge about a complex system Read Our Full Work: Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst, Marisa Elena Duarte. “Complex, Contemporary, and Unconventional: Characterizing the Tweets of the #NativeVote Movement and Native American Candidates through the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 3 (CSCW), Article 30, November 2019. This paper received an award for Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion.
We presented our recent work on Evaluating LTE Coverage and Quality from an Unmanned Aircraft System at the IEEE International Conference on Mobile Ad-Hoc and Smart Systems. Despite widespread LTE adoption and dependence, rural areas lag behind in coverage availability and quality. In the United States, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates mobile broadband, reports increases in LTE availability, the most recent FCC Broadband Report was criticized for overstating coverage. Physical assessments of cellular coverage and quality are essential for evaluating actual user experience. However, measurement campaigns can be resource, time, and labor intensive; more scalable measurement strategies are urgently needed. In this work, we first present several measurement solutions to capture LTE signal strength measurements, and we compare their accuracy. Our findings reveal that simple, lightweight spectrum sensing devices have comparable accuracy to expensive solutions and can estimate quality within one gradation of accuracy when compared to user equipment. We then show that these devices can be mounted on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to more rapidly and easily measure coverage across wider geographic regions. Our results show that the low-cost aerial measurement techniques have 72% accuracy relative to the ground readings of user equipment, and fall within one quality gradation 98% of the time.
“Of Course, Data Can Never Fully Represent Reality”: Assessing the Relationship between “Indigenous Data” and “Indigenous Knowledge,” “Traditional Ecological Knowledge,” and “Traditional Knowledge”
Multiple terms describe Indigenous peoples’ creative expressions, including “Indigenous knowledge” (IK), “traditional ecological knowledge” (TEK), “traditional knowledge” (TK), and increasingly, “Indigenous data” (ID). Variation in terms contributes to disciplinary divides, challenges in organizing and finding prior studies about Indigenous peoples’ creative expressions, and intellectually divergent chains of reference. The authors applied a decolonial, digital, feminist, ethics-of-care approach to citation analysis of records about Indigenous peoples knowledge and data, including network analyses of author-generated keywords and research areas, and content analysis of peer-reviewed studies about ID. Results reveal ambiguous uses of the term “Indigenous data”; the influence of ecology and environmental studies in research areas and topics associated with IK, TEK, and TK; and the influence of public administration and governance studies in research areas and topics associated with ID studies. Researchers of ID would benefit from applying a more nuanced and robust vocabulary, one informed by studies of IK, TEK, and TK. Researchers of TEK and TK would benefit from the more people-centered approaches of IK. Researchers and systems designers who work with data sets can practice relational accountability by centering the Indigenous peoples from whom observations are sourced, combining narrative methodologies with computational methods to sustain the holism favored by Indigenous science and the relationality of Indigenous peoples. Read our Full Work: Marisa Duarte, Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Sandy Littletree, Miranda Belarde-Lewis. “‘Of Course, Data Can Never Fully Represent Reality’: Assessing the Relationship between “Indigenous Data” and “Indigenous Knowledge,” “Traditional Ecological Knowledge,” and “Traditional Knowledge”” Human Biology, vol. 19, no. 3. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Summer 2019 (printed in 2020)
Human-computer interaction is dominated by urban spaces, particularly superstar cities that have become hubs of education and technological innovation. In many ways, this is natural for HCI: These cities, such as San Francisco and Boston, are home to most major tech companies and universities, as well as the majority of tech’s financial and human capital. They stand in the popular imagination as bastions of the future, the places from which innovative design emerges. However, in allowing attention to drift almost exclusively to these cities, we bypass an important question: What are we missing when we focus only on the superstars? Read Our Full Work: Jean Hardy, Chanda Phelan, Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Norman Makoto Su, Susan Wyche, and Phoebe Sengers. “Designing from the Rural.” ACM Interactions July/August 2019.