Air Quality Monitoring Data Communications Technology
26 September 2006, News release from Air Monitors Limited
Air quality monitoring sites usually involve several automated instruments measuring different pollutants in near real time and can therefore produce a lot of data.
This data has to be transferred from the remote site to a central data centre where it is checked, and disseminated to various interested parties and of course to the general public. Traditionally this has been achieved by dial up telephone connections at typical data speeds of 9600 Baud. As well as the relatively slow speed, other issues can arise with traditional data systems. For example if more then one person wishes to connect to the site it can cause conflicts as only one connection is possible at any moment. Call costs can be prohibitive if extended or frequent connection is required and line quality and bandwidth can limit the type of features possible with many modern monitors. It is with these issues in mind that Air Monitors Ltd. have designed a new concept in data and communications management especially for air quality monitoring applications. It has been designed to fit to existing air quality stations enabling you to enjoy the latest technology without necessarily replacing your existing monitoring equipment.
A.Q. Web is a new way of managing communications from air quality stations and offers additional features not available from conventional systems. The major difference is that a combined data logger and either GPRS or ADSL/Cable modem collects the data and then transmits it to a central server. There are no telephone calls as the system is connected permanently and simply 'wakes up' a regular intervals and send the data then goes back to 'sleep' till the next data burst. The data is held on a central server which is accessible to all interested parties, with the proper authorisation and as it is transferred from here on over fast internet connections there is no cost for the communication. This allows the system to update as often as you wish keeping the air quality data flowing all day and night and fully up to date. In addition the system can also connect the user with each site and enables the user to control the monitoring equipment directly from a central location, activate remote calibrations and check gas cylinder pressures etc. The same technology allows Air Monitors Ltd. service personnel to diagnose problems and be alerted to possible faults as soon as they are evident. In short the system can save time and money and reduce downtime.
A.Q. Web. - The Software
The site manager software simultaneously shows data from as many sites as the user wishes. All sites are automatically updated at the same time, as all the sites are synchronised to a central time server which is calibrated to the international atomic clock. There is no need to make any calls, in fact the user does not need to do anything, just look at the data coming in as frequently as you wish it to update. The data is displayed in a tabular and graphical format which can be zoomed in to show as much detail as required.
The basic system is able to manage several hundred sites and whether you have one or many the cost of the software is the same. Several users can use the software simultaneously and each additional user pays only a fraction of the original cost. The site manager software also provides remote control & diagnostics support for most well known monitors from many different manufacturers. Calibrations and zero checks can be initiated and shown in real time on a graph. Data from calibration checks are stored in a separate database and can be displayed over time helping the user to identify trends showing drift or errors in certain monitors.
A.Q. Web. - The Power of Information
A.Q. Web is deigned to use the power of the internet together with fast communications technology to enable faster, smarter and more cost effective management of air quality data. Since all data from all A.Q.Web sites is collected on a powerful central server, comparison of data from site to site in real time is now possible (provided the data owner consents). This will allow local authorities, central government and other interested parties to react faster to air local, regional or national air pollution episodes.
The server supports A.Q. Web Reports software which clients can buy enabling a range of fully formatted reports allowing fast comparison with air quality legislation. Or if you prefer to have data in a standard Excel (csv) format then an FTP server provides fast access to the data or you can have data emailed to you as often as you wish. You can even elect to be informed by email or text if a fault develops or if an air quality episode occurs.
Special tools allow the data to be examined, scaled and quality controlled and an audit trail ensures that the original data is never lost and any changes made are tracked and logged. Certain quality checks can be made automatically by application of algorithms developed by leading air quality experts. This package of features enables the data owner to publish to the internet or to other electronic media faster and with more safeguards than any other package. A.Q. Web includes a web publication engine which allows the user to define what is published, where it's published and how often, leaving the user in control but where the hard work and specialist knowledge is taken care of, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
How to Experience A.Q. Web
The system has been on trial with the Scottish Executive for the past six months and has been used in a variety of sites across Scotland. Data capture has been over 99% and the inevitable early bugs have been identified and resolved. The system is now being launched in the UK and western Europe and will go worldwide from early 2007. The system is available for anyone to try on line free of charge or obligation by contacting www.airmonitors.co.uk/AQWeb, by emailing AQWEB@airmonitors.co.uk or by telephoning Air Monitors Ltd. on 01452 849111.
For further information please email Air Monitors Limited