The collaboration will see Google Street View cars equipped with Aclima’s mobile sensing platform to test the air around the cars at a street level.

The three Street View cars took measurements of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, CO2, black carbon and other air pollutants which can affect human health and climate change.

The Street View vehicles were used in a month long test in Denver, Colorado, where the cars collected 150m data points as part of a study conducted by NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

‘Live and breathe’

Aclima co-founder and CEO Davida Herzl said the integration of the mobile sensing platform with Street View gave the partners the 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,” said Herzl.

Herzl added the result of the test “lays the foundation for generating high resolution maps of air quality in cities.”

The EPA currently relies on a network of stationary equipment in urban areas to measure air quality, but Aclima’s mobile platform allows monitors to study a more detailed picture of the immediate surroundings at street level.

Unlimited potential

Herzl said the Denver pilot has enabled the partners to prepare for scaling up the project: “There’s unlimited potential for our work to help improve the health and resilience of communities everywhere.”

Google Earth Outreach program manager Karin Tuxen-Bettman said the pilot project would enable them to use Street View and Google Maps as a future environmental mapping platform.

In late 2015, Aclima and Google are planning to expand their efforts at mapping air quality to the San Francisco Bay Area to explore new applications for the environmental tool.

The partnership has already worked on mapping indoor environments, with Aclima and Google creating a network across 21 Google offices around the world to monitor for pollutants and temperature to improve workplace design.

In the UK, Deliver Change has begun implementing its AirSensa air monitoring system in London to help implement air quality solutions in the city, with air pollution deaths thought to number as many as 9,500 per year in the capital.

Matt Field

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