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EarthSense releases real-time map of air pollution in the UK

EarthSense Systems has published MappAir – the first-ever high-resolution nationwide map of air pollution.

EarthSense combines data from satellites, its own air quality monitoring systems and open source data, to create the highly accurate digital map. Initially available for the whole of the UK at 100m (328ft) resolution, MappAir shows how air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide, changes across the country and within towns and cities, highlighting likely sources and potential clean-air refuge areas.

“Air pollution is making headlines across the world for all the wrong reasons,” said James Eddy, managing director of EarthSense Systems. “However, there simply isn’t enough data available for those charged with tackling the issue to make informed decisions. MappAir can provide a street-view to city-wide visualization of air pollution, and is the first in a series of nationwide products that are coming to market in the next year.”

Using the British National Grid, EarthSense has divided the UK into 100m (328ft) squares – about twice the size of an average soccer field. Air pollution readings from satellites and its own Zephyr air quality monitoring sensors were combined with open data, including traffic emissions and weather conditions, to produce an annual average for each cell. The MappAir data is available to view and purchase online at www.blueskymapshop.com.

As additional sensors come online and more historical data is made available, EarthSense plans to produce a range of MappAir products, including an ultra-high resolution 1m (3.2ft) data set for detailed study areas; a 10m (32.8ft) map for urban areas; time-lapse maps showing how air pollution changes over the course of a day and on different days; and forecast maps giving an indication of fluctuations up to three days ahead. EarthSense also plans to release a map of PM2.5 (ultrafine pollution particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers).

“Air pollution is not a constant threat,” added Eddy. “Not only does it differ from location to location, as MappAir clearly shows, but it also changes from morning rush hour to afternoon school run, and from weekday commutes to weekend leisure pursuits. This is why we are already working on the next products in the MappAir range, including near-real-time altering maps and forecast maps.”

MappAir products are designed for a wide range of applications including local planning, enforcement and mitigation strategies, as well as commercial applications such as conveyancing and health diagnostics. It is hoped the MappAir products will also help with public engagement and behavioral change initiatives.

- December 2017

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