Want to know the pollution rate of your city? Here’s an app for it

Researchers at University of Southern California has come out with a way to determine the air quality with a snapshot of your phone’s photo using the visibility apps. How? You ask.

Gizmag said ” Visibility sends a user’s photo of the sky as a small black-and-white file to a central computer, along with data from their phone’s GPS, compass, clock and accelerometer. The computer compares the luminance value of the sky in the photo to algorithmic models for the specific time and coordinates at which the phone data indicates the image was taken. If the sky in the photo isn’t as bright as the model says it should be, it means that some of the sunlight wasn’t making it through the atmosphere, because it was blocked by haze aerosols. Not only does the computer then send the user a report on the level of air pollution, but it also stores the information (without the user’s identity) to augment pollution maps for the area.

They has tested the app in Los Angeles, California and Phoenix, Arizona — two notoriously polluted cities — and the apps readings measure up favorably to the air quality data published by the EPA.

If this visibility apps prove to be useful then scientist will have a way of finding an accurate data using a gadget that almost everyone has, cell phones. Right now the android version is free (yeah for us) while iphones and the others is on the way.

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