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Aclima, Google team-up to map outdoor air quality with Street View cars

Aclima, Google team-up to map outdoor air quality with Street View cars

San Francisco-based Aclima is partnering with Google Earth Outreach to map and better understand urban air quality. Under the deal, Street View cars will be equipped with Aclima's mobile sensing platform to see the air around us "in ways never before possible."

The project kicked off with a pilot involving three Street View cars which took measurements of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for a month in the Denver metro area. The cars clocked 750 hours of drive time and gathered 150 million data points, correlated with data from EPA stationary measurement sites. EPA on its end provided scientific expertise in study design and instrument operations as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Aclima.

"We have a profound opportunity to understand how cities live and breathe in an entirely new way by integrating Aclima's mobile sensing platform with Google Maps and Street View cars," said Davida Herzl, co-founder and CEO of Aclima. "With more than half of the world's population now living in cities, environmental health is becoming increasingly important to quality of life. Today we're announcing the success of our integration test with Google, which lays the foundation for generating high resolution maps of air quality in cities."

This Fall, Aclima and Google will expand mapping efforts to the San Francisco Bay Area.Right now, the EPA relies on an extensive network of stationary equipment, placed in urban areas, that measure different pollutants in the air. The monitoring network is designed for air quality regulation, but does not give a detailed picture of a community or urban area. Aclima's mobile sensing platform on Street View cars complements EPA's regional air measurement network by introducing a new body of knowledge about air quality at the street level.

"Environmental air quality is an issue that affects everyone, especially those living in big cities," said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Program Manager for Google Earth Outreach. "This partnership with Aclima enables us to take the next steps in our pilot project to utilize Street View's existing infrastructure and test Google Maps as an environmental sensing platform for mapping the environment. We hope this information will enable more people to be aware of how our cities live and breathe, and join the dialog on how to make improvements to air quality."

This Fall, Aclima and Google will expand mapping efforts to the San Francisco Bay Area and work with communities and scientists to explore applications for this new environmental tool.

Last month, Aclima has partnered with Google to create a network spanning 21 Google offices around the world. The search giant plans to evaluate environmental factors unveiled by Aclima's sensors, and, eventually make better decisions on workplace design to support employee wellbeing, productivity and creativity.

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