Google expands Street View to map air quality and pick up on the fine particularities of air pollution that varies from street to street, from neighborhood to neighborhood.
In this ambitious project, Google partnered up with Aclima, the San Francisco based air quality mapping tech company. Google cars that are used in the Street View project will be equipped with sensors the purpose of which is to measure air pollutants levels in all their complexity.
Three Street View cars have already been equipped with sensors that measured volatile organic compounds, black carbon, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, methane in 750 hours of driving.
The test was conducted in Denver over one month period. The Environmental Protection Agency was also involved in providing scientific expertise as part of a separate partnership with Aclima.
Davida Herzl, the CEO of Aclima, stated:
“We have a profound opportunity to understand how cities live and breathe in an entirely new way. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, environmental health is becoming increasingly important to quality of life”.
EPA’s air quality measuring equipment is typically stationary. And while data gathered from stationary measurements is relevant, it fails to capture the differences from one street or neighborhood to another.
Street View cars involved in the project will help fill the gap in environmental air quality measurements in urban areas. Google infrastructure allows this ambitious project and adds to using and testing:
“Google Maps as an environmental sensing platform for mapping the environment”.
Come fall, the Google-Aclima project will be expanded to the San Francisco Bay area. As the effort picks up, more Street View cars equipped with the environmental sensors will be deployed to other cities.
The project has the great potential for gathering valuable data that could greatly improve the resilience and health of communities by informing relevant strategies and policies for tackling air pollution.
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