Open Source Geospatio-Temporal Sensing, Visualization, and Analytics

Supporting Air Quality Policy and Management in Cities

The Five Colleges GeoForAll Research and Education Collaboration

Project Overview

This project addresses the need for urban areas to collect and analyze air quality data in an effort to protect human health. It maps and analyzes air pollution data collected from two urban locations around the world: Kathmandu, Nepal, and Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. In each case, there are specific public policy and management questions related to understanding the air quality situation, and investigating possible public policy and management responses to air quality issues.

Project Goal

The long-term goal of this project is to develop a low-cost, open source and user friendly monitoring system for data collection on air quality in urban areas, and to demonstrate NASA Web World Wind visualization and data analytics to investigate the particular policy or management questions for urban cases. Through the project, we want to demonstrate that public officials as well as citizens can collect air quality data first-hand using these open source sensors, map them using the open source software Web World Wind, and use these tools to determine if there is a public health concern due to air quality. If there is, citizens and policymakers can explore potential policy options for helping to reduce the problem.

Project Video

Learn More About the Project

This project contains three main components, each with its own option on the website menu. The first component includes the design, development, and testing of an open source Arduino-based air quality sensors. The sensors were designed, developed and tested this summer by students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Peltier Aerosol Lab and deployed in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Prior to the development of the Arduino air quality sensors, we also collected air quality data in Kathmandu, Nepal using a proprietary air quality measuring device.

The remaining two components summarize the studies of air quality in two very different city contexts: Kathmandu, Nepal and Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Each case study provides a description of the urban context and the policy/management question, the collection of data using environmental air sensors, the mapping of spatio-temporal data on the Web World Wind platform, the analysis of the data collected, and concludes with next steps. In both cases, we implement a visualization of the time series data using NASA Web World Wind and demonstrate its analysis.