With 38 million residents and nearly 30 million registered vehicles, managing Californias air quality is among the most challenging problems in the United States. Aclima and Google Maps commit to using a newly-developed mobile sensor-based technology platform to measure and map air quality in at least three major metropolitan areas, including communities in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Central Valley regions. Aclima and Google will equip Google Street View cars with Aclimas sensing platform, and drive city streets gathering measurements on air pollution, which affects human health and contributes to climate change.
Once collected, the air quality data will be processed, analyzed and aggregated by Aclimas data platform, and made available on Google Earth Engine, Googles geospatial analysis platform. The data will then be made available to scientists and air quality experts, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). They will explore ways to utilize this data at the community scale and explore its implications for human health and the environment. Community members will be able to access and view street-level air quality maps, overlaid on Google Earth and Google Maps. This commitment will enable individuals, communities, and policy makers to understand and mitigate health and environmental risks where they occur.
Aclima and Google will launch the first of three mapping campaigns in California beginning October 1, 2015. The first mapping campaign will be held in the Bay Area and is scheduled to take approximately five months, to conclude in early 2016. The next five-month campaign will begin thereafter in Californias Central Valley. The third campaign in Greater Los Angeles will commence thereafter and conclude by the end of calendar year 2016.
Californias cities, some of which rank the worst in the nation for particulate pollution, offer a robust testing ground to explore the benefits of hyper-local air quality data. Public health experts estimate that air pollution in California costs more than a billion dollars in health care costs annually and that asthma results in an estimated 11.8 million days of work or usual activities missed per year among adults. It is also estimated that that cutting air pollution like ozone and particulate matter could alleviate one in three cases of childhood asthma requiring medical attention every year. Working with a range of stakeholders at the local level, Aclima and Googles deployment on Google Street View cars seeks to add clarity to this smoggy picture. Through this new layer of environmental data, Californians can see their cities more clearly and take action to improve air quality and combat climate change.
States are required to monitor and control background levels of air pollution under the Clean Air Act. To assess if air quality is meeting or exceeding public health standards, the EPA relies on air quality monitoring stations across the country delivering regional snapshots of air quality. The monitoring network is designed for air quality regulation, but doesn't 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. Highly localized greenhouse gas data is even more limited. Scientists use predictive models to fill in vast gaps with limited data. Aclimas mobile sensing platform on Street View cars complements current air measurement efforts by introducing a new body of knowledge about air pollution at the street level.
Aclima, a San Francisco-based tech startup co-founded and run by a woman and with over 50% women engineers, seeks media support to help communicate this important human health and climate change initiative to the public.
Aclima and Google are offering an opportunity to municipal air quality management districts in three initial campaign areas to test and improve their roadway air quality models. Aclima and Google hope to eventually offer the air quality mapping services to communities everywhere. Aclima and Google are open to sharing these initial datasets with scientists, urban planners, and healthcare practitioners to help them study and improve urban air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Aclima and Google are also offering local non-profits, and local scientists the opportunity to collaborate on the campaign design, test hypothesis, and areas of focus.