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New Google Partnership Shows Air Quality Within Cities

July 30, 2015 - Written By Dennis Patrick

How concerned are you with air quality? If you think about it, most of us live in or near an urban area. The mixture of cars, buses, trucks, businesses, and even weather play a massive part in the quality of air in your area. I probably won’t have to go into detail about just how bad pollution can affect your health and daily routine but at the rate we’re going, Aclima would like to bring air quality to the attention of everyone, not just the Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to a new partnership with Aclima and Google, everyone could potentially see the air quality of their area.

Aclima is a company that designs and sends out sensor networks which will provide information of different elements within the air. A recent partnership with Google allowed Aclima to put their sensors into three Google Street View cars. If you’re not familiar with Google Street View, it’s a free online service through Google that will allow the general public to view a complete 360 degree of practically any street. In order to capture these images, Google deploys a number of vehicles with specially mounted cameras that take images as the car navigates through a city.

With the newly obtained sensors, Aclima and Google were able to capture data on a test run in Denver. Over 750 hours were captured during one month which the sensor could calculate how much nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black, carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds were within the air. Following Denver, a second location was picked out, the San Francisco Bay Area.

The end result to these tests and captures is to provide the data with everyone in the city. Not only will the general public be able to see their air quality but environmental groups and scientists as well. With the newly obtained knowledge, it’s possible that these groups can work together and solve the issue of poor air quality. What is unknown at this time is if Google will bring this partnership to a larger scale with more sensors and additional Google Street View cars on the road. With Denver only a test run and preparation taking place for San Francisco, it will be interesting to see if anyone within these two cities will come up with a solution to improve the air quality.