Google goes socially responsible by developing a partnership that allows its street view vehicles to map outdoor air quality. Aclima Inc. recently partnered with Google to expand the Google Maps services with a completely new and useful feature. Aclima is an organization that designs and develops environmental sensor networks and it comes from announcing the new Google Earth Outreach partnership aimed at developing a program to map and much better understand the importance and the levels of urban air quality. We are used to ignoring these kind of factors that are high contributors to the general quality of life and to our health levels in particular.
Google’s Street View cars are enabled to take measurements of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and Volatile Organic Compounds. These are all air pollutants which highly affect human life and climate change as well. The initiative to measure levels of air quality in urban areas is an extremely efficient one, as we can become more aware of the risks of living the big city life.
Climate change is nowadays one of the most debated subjects in the media and in official state bureaus, as the effects of global warming are starting to seriously affect our habitats and progressively degrade entire ecosystems.
Aclima has upgraded three Google Street View vehicles in order to perform a month long system test in the Denver metro area. This will all happen at the same time with the DISCOVER-AQ study initiated by NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The cars are programmed to drive for 750 hours and gather expected scientific expertise in study design and instrument operations as part of the terms of partnership with Google, generally known as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.
After mapping and registering the levels of air pollutants through Street View vehicles, an extensive network of stationary equipment positioned in urban areas will reveal the findings and make us aware of the environment we live in. However, although the monitoring network is designed for air quality regulation, it does not give a highly relevant overview on an extended community or urban area so that people can be able to realistically asses the level of air pollution in their immediate surroundings. The mobile sensing platform designed by Aclima and adapted to Street View cars complements the regional air measurement network by introducing a new level of know-how about air quality.
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