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Using Air Quality Data For Meaningful Smart City Insights

Using air quality data can provide a number of valuable insights for urban planners and environmental engineers. These data can support policies and help urban agencies improve air quality. In addition, air quality data can help identify areas of poor air quality. Here are some ways to use this data:

Monitoring Indoor Air Quality

For the sake of the health of Smart City dwellers and employees, it is imperative to monitor the quality of indoor air in the cities and neighbourhoods where we live and work. Having clean air is essential to our well-being, but there are many different pollutants that can affect our health. For example, carbon dioxide levels can be harmful if they reach a certain limit. Fortunately, there are ways to control carbon dioxide levels.

One way to monitor air quality is to set up wireless sensor networks throughout an entire city. These sensors can gather continuous air quality data and create pollution maps. The data can be analyzed through a web-based dashboard and push notifications. In a smart city, continuous monitoring of indoor air quality can help the city make data-driven decisions.

Indoor air quality monitoring systems can help you identify the sources of indoor pollution, optimize ventilation based on occupancy, and reduce energy costs. However, these sensors are very sensitive, and improper installation can lead to inaccurate data. To avoid this, you need to use an accurate sensor with a good WiFi connection.

Monitoring Outdoor Air Quality

Aside from providing data about indoor air quality, outdoor air quality monitoring can be used to engage citizens and raise awareness on the issue of air pollution. For example, Pittsburgh consistently ranks among the most polluted cities in the US, and it uses outdoor air quality data to create interactive tools that show the number of pollutants present in different parts of the city and allow citizens to compare the quality of air in the city to other cities. The data provided by outdoor air quality monitors like Ecomesure can be used by citizens to raise awareness.

The importance of outdoor air quality monitoring is not to be underestimated, especially in countries with large populations. In countries like Chile, for example, air quality data is often incomplete, and this can influence policies to combat air pollution. Low-cost sensing solutions and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become popular ways to get fine-grained data on air quality.

Monitoring Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Monitoring traffic-related air pollution with Industrial Network Switch can be a valuable tool to improve the performance of smart cities and create a more sustainable environment. It can be used to make changes in traffic management, thereby reducing air pollution levels and associated health risks. To this end, Proximity Futures is working with UK local authorities to deploy Zephyr networks. These devices use real-time pollution data to create traffic models. These models can predict the optimal traffic flow and reduce related health risks in cities.

Using Data Mining To Identify Areas Of Poor Air Quality

Data mining allows cities to find areas where air quality is poor, and then combine it with other sensor data to determine what may be causing the problem. For instance, cities can map routes taken by residents using anonymized cellphone data, allowing them to see where citizens are being exposed to poor air quality the most. For example, a study from the Senseable City Lab at MIT found that residents in Manhattan were exposed to higher levels of pollution than their counterparts in the outer boroughs.

Final Thoughts

Currently, several collaborative projects are using crowdsourcing to gather data from citizens. These projects aim to create real-time information and make it available to governmental organizations for decision-making. They also aim to improve societal welfare through citizen-generated data. Moreover, these initiatives aim at providing citizen-generated air quality data that is complementary to official monitoring frameworks.

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