The mission of the Urban Sensing Initiative, USI, is to provide policy makers, city managers and other urban stakeholders access to timely and relevant data on infrastructure, environmental and natural conditions that are needed for successful operation and maintenance of the urban environment.

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. The world's population will exceed 9 billion by 2050, 70 percent of whom will live in cities.  Integral to the sustainable growth of such urban centers is the design and operation of a complex interdependent infrastructure for moving people, goods, water, waste, energy, and information. This infrastructure ranges from pipelines for gas and water, to telecommunication network, sidewalks and streets to bridges and ports, and from personal carriers to mass transit systems.

Maintaining the safety, health and prosperity of the urban population depends on the availability and access to shared information on the condition of urban environments and infrastructures, whether natural, built or operational. This is key to delivering services effectively, efficiently, and sustainably. USI gathers and communicates the ambient information needed to guide sustainable and forward thinking management of cities, enhancing the quality of life of urban dwellers.