Pres from NYC Workshop by Mark Shepard

Meteorology and Air Quality section at Wageningen University and Research Center - possible interested party?

MIMAQ - (work on mobile pollution sensors)

Jan Theunis (Vlaams Instituut voor Technologisch Onderzoek, BE) -
(work on mobile pollution sensors)
Presentation on The potential of community sensing for outdoor air quality monitoring
Presented at The Internet of Things for a Sustainable Future Workshop
Notes on the presentation are available at the workshop wiki here (you need to create a login account, otherwise copy/paste of notes are below)

  • Technology at the service of specific measurements. The research arena is browsed for useful methods that are then implemented to solve specific problems
  • Ozone is a secondary pollutant, coming from VOC, NOx... More ozone is less NOx. So sensing these pollutants is interrelated
  • Urban Air Quality
    • Regulation
    • New approaches: focus on exposure and health
  • As the ability of measuring more details in the environment increases, the understanding of the process and the impact on human health is more complex
  • ultrafine particles are very local with a low background, whereas pm2.5 is not very localized but has a high background
  • PM10 contains also sea salt. To separate 'good' stuff you have to go to the lab. I.e. this is not a very good metric. Note: pollen is larger.
  • ultrasensitive senors that have very localized measurements may actually be a problem as they provide too localized information to be useful (peak when a scooter passes by)
  • environmental bike costs about 20000€ (the prototype). The black carbon sensor costs 6000€
  • these sensors are also mechanical devices with pumps etc, which further increases the price; makes use technically more complex and more prone to mechanical defects
  • sensors behave differently though measuring the same pollutant - even if they are from the same production unit. It is not even clear what they measure exactly, in some cases (due to correlated pollutants amongst others). One solution would be sensor arrays (of different sensors measuring the same thing)
  • air quality sensing not yet ready for pervasive apps
  • low-cost sensors not yet ready for gathering data of adequate quality
  • combine low-cost + more sophisticated sensors, air quality models and contextual information
  • need for expert knowledge to go from data to information
  • The talk is raising serious points about the limits of citizen science (costs, skills) and shows the need for collaboration between experts and participants