Imagine if your smartphone could give you data about air pollution in a specific region while looking at maps or it could find a route with best quality of air. This type of data will soon be available in Google Maps.
Aclima, A startup company that makes environmental sensors has partnered with Google to gather environmental data and make it available on maps. Currently they ran a 1 month driving program in which 3 Google Cars collected data of 150 million points in about 750 hours.
Google had already partnered with Aclima to collect air quality data of their 21 Google’s offices around the world. But this new partnership is meant for Google’s Earth Outreach division. This division will provide tools to help the non-profit organisations.
Google street cars can collect air data like methane, CO2, NO2, O3, black carbon levels. In upcoming years more cars will be seen running on the roads. The data collected will be used to add another layer of environmental data to google maps.
This data will be released for access by the public with no cost. Google will be able provide more environmental data than current stationary monitoring stations established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and state departments. Examples – The residents of Colorado can view their air quality on state government websites, but it is limited.
Dan Costa (National program director of EPA’s Office of Research and Development) said: “Our research partnership with Aclima is helping us understand air pollutants at the local and community level, and how they move in an urban area at the ground level” , “New mobile air measurements can complement existing stationary measurements for a more detailed picture of personal and community air quality.”
Urban planning will be easier with this kind of data. Buying houses after surveying the air quality, knowing the exact location of highly polluted area to plant trees are the major benefits. But currently no environmental data is available on Aclima website.
Jessica Lass, a spokesperson for Aclima says: “The primary focus for the Denver pilot was to test our mobile sensor platform and make sure it could collect quality data — which we were able to validate with EPA’s stationary sensors”.
These data will give us more detail about the quality of air we are breathing. Government can meaningfully implement laws for reducing the pollution.