Google & Aclima Expand Air Quality Maps Beyond San Francisco

Google and Aclima have now announced plans to expand their joint street-level air quality mapping program outside of San Fransico and to global locations beginning this fall. That will begin with a 50-vehicle expansion. No details have been provided with regard to exactly where those vehicles will be located initially or what the planned rate of expansion is, as of this writing. However, the ultimate goal is to equip all of Google's Street View cars with equipment for measuring the same details the program has already been gathering. The concept of the project is very similar to how Google's Street View already works for navigation and exploration. The difference is that the overall goal of the ongoing partnership is to provide a street-by-street demonstration of air quality. That highlights which areas need improvement and giving those who view the publicly available maps and who live in the areas studied a wealth of information that is actionable and thorough.

So far, the efforts have included data collected from over 100,000 miles of driving since 2015. Prior to the rollout of more vehicles, the air tests have been confined to California with a direct focus on Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and regions of the Central Valley. In continuation of that effort, more Street View cars will be equipped with a massive amount of data gathering equipment, all squeezed into Aclima's own sensor node. The node specifically measures levels of carbon dioxide and monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and other general particulates.

Moving forward, the data collected through the partnership will be aggregated via Google's BigQuery API. That's an enterprise data warehouse that allows developers and others to use the data at any given scale without accessing the dataset itself. It also means that developers could feasibly be able to include the data in maps or charts of their own - in a fashion that's similar to how Google Maps API works - in a public website or a mobile app. Meanwhile, a more complete, full dataset will be made available on request to provide deeper insight for research purposes. More information about both sides of the project will likely be revealed as the remodeled vehicles begin hitting the streets. The primary caveat to this new initiative will be that the information isn't likely to be updated as frequently in all areas that are mapped as it has been in current areas. The vehicles can't necessarily be everywhere at once, even if all Street View vehicles are ultimately equipped to take the measurements. With that said, this is a good start toward making that possible.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]