Google Street View Cars Monitor Air Pollution

Google Street View

by | Jul 29, 2015

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Google Street ViewGoogle has partnered with environmental sensor networks company Aclima to better monitor and understand air pollution in urban areas.

The partnership equipped three Google Street View cars with Aclima’s mobile sensing platform and took measurements of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The vehicles performed a month-long system test in the Denver metro area during the DISCOVER-AQ study conducted by NASA and the EPA. The cars clocked 750 hours of drive time and gathered 150 million data points, correlated with data from EPA stationary measurement sites. The EPA provided scientific expertise in study design and instrument operations as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Aclima.

To assess air quality, the EPA relies on a network of stationary equipment, placed in urban areas, that measure carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and photochemical oxidants. The monitoring network is designed for air quality regulation, but does not give a detailed picture of a community or urban area such that people can get a real sense of what air pollution is in their immediate surroundings. Aclima’s mobile sensing platform on Street View cars complements the EPA’s regional air measurement network by introducing a new body of knowledge about air quality at the street level.

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.

On Monday, Google and 12 other major US businesses signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, committing a combined total of $140 billion in new low-carbon investments. Google also pledged to powering its operations with 100 percent renewable energy and reducing water consumption by its Bay Area headquarters by 30 percent in 2015 from its 2013 baseline.


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