Using Street View Cars to Map Air Pollution

Ultra-local air quality data is made accessible to all by equipping Google Street View cars with Aclima’s mobile sensing platform.

By integrating Aclima’s mobile sensing technology with Google Street View cars, the partnership has so far collected air quality data along more than 32,000 km of roads in the San Francisco Bay Area. The cars collect measurements of air pollutants that affect human health and climate change by utilizing the power of big data. By making a new layer of real-time environmental data available to regulators and policymakers, the initiative aims to inform decision-making at all levels.

The data will be made available to scientists and air quality experts, and community members will be able to access and view street-level air quality maps, overlaid on Google Earth and Google Maps.

Relevance of solution

Globally, air pollution is a growing threat to human health and ecosystems. WHO recently declared outdoor air pollution a public health emergency, with untold financial implications for governments.1 Despite this, the current measurement paradigm lacks the detailed, real-time data required to better manage and mitigate pollution at the human level. The partnership between Aclima and Google to map California communities offers a testing ground to explore the benefits of hyper-local air quality data.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

Insights from Aclima and Google provide better awareness of local air quality and can be used to find solutions that mitigate exposure to air pollution.

Social

Public health experts estimate cutting air pollution like ozone and particulate matter could alleviate one in three cases of childhood asthma requiring medical attention every year.2

Economic

Air pollution in California is responsible for more than a billion dollars in health care costs annually, and asthma results in an estimated 11.8 million days of work or activities missed per year among adults.3


Sources

  1. WHO. “7 Million Premature Deaths Annually Linked to Air Pollution.” (2014)
  2. NRDC. “Preventing Pollution Protects Kids and Would Save California Billions.” (2015)
  3. California Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch. “Asthma in California A Surveillance Report.” (2013)