Aclima, a company that maps hyper-local air pollution along with Google announced that they are releasing a huge set of data on air quality and pollution for free to the scientific community which will help to combat climate change and clean up the air.
Both the companies said that the data set released will support research into fields of air pollution and greenhouse gas data measurement. By providing access to this complete California air quality dataset to researchers, Aclima and Google have hope to help the scientific community drive climate analysis and take forward action.
This data collection is the result of four years of measurements taken by Google Street View vehicles in California fitted with Aclima sensors. The sensing and analytics tools were integrated into Google Street View vehicles, which measured air pollutant and greenhouse gas levels in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the California Central Valley.
The detailed dataset provides researchers with information on changes in air quality from block to block. The data includes information of more than 42 million measurements of smog, soot, black carbon, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and methane throughout the state of California. There is an ability to zoom in to check differences between one street makes it easy to understand where the most pollution is coming from and who it affects the most.
Scientists usually look at air quality and greenhouse gas emissions at a city or even country-wide scale. The equipment traditionally used to monitor pollution was expensive, stationary, and limited to just one sensor covering a large area. That would miss minute details at a granular level, which leads to environmental and health disparities.
Now, with this complete air quality data set of California available to researchers, Aclima and Google are trying double down on their thesis that measures street-level air quality. This will lead to reducing the emissions that both damage health and change the climate.
Aclima co-founder and CEO Davida Herzl said, “Over four years, the two companies have aggregated more than 42 million hyperlocal air quality measurements throughout California. We’re increasing the pixels on the picture of air quality. The technology or the methodology to do that just hadn’t been available.”
In 2017 the data has been used by researchers from the University of Texas, Austin, and the Environmental Defense Fund for a paper that said pollution can vary by five to eight times between city blocks. In 2018 the EDF and Kaiser Permanente released a study linking street-level pollution in Oakland to higher incidences of heart disease.