People, Environment

Google Expands Air Pollution Monitoring Program

Google Expands Air Pollution Monitoring ProgramGoogle Expands Air Pollution Monitoring Program

As part of a partnership with Aclima, a startup that designs environmental sensor networks, Google launched a pilot program in July to outfit its Street View vehicles in Denver, Colorado, with sensors that can detect a number of pollutants, including black carbon, nitric oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide.

Now the initiative is going big. At this week’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Aclima announced that Google Street View cars will map air pollution throughout California—in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Central Valley.

The mapping starts immediately, Tech Insider reported.

California offers a robust testing ground for exploring the benefits of hyper-local air quality data. The challenges faced by California’s cities—some of which rank the worst in the US for particulate pollution—are shared by urban centers around the world.

Beginning with this commitment, we can start to turn billions of uninformed decisions into billions of informed choices, and usher in a new era of data-driven innovation for the planet.

Once the data collection starts, Californians will be able to see street-level air quality maps on both Google Maps and Google Earth. In other words, they will be able to see exactly how polluted their city, neighborhood and street are at various points in time.

The data will also be uploaded and shared on Google Earth Engine, where researchers, NGOs and government officials can use it to study air pollution and its effects on cities.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has its own environmental sensors, but Google and Aclima can now provide more in-depth pollution monitoring on the hyper-local level.

And since it will be accessible in Google Maps, non-scientists will actually see the data.