Google creates new tool for cities to measure air pollution

Google has released a new digital tool that will allow a selection of European cities to measure levels of air pollution. 

The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) was designed in collaboration with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), to analyse Google’s global mapping data to estimate building and transportation carbon emissions and renewable energy potential.

The tool was made available yesterday (October 10) in Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton, and Coventry.

Google says they will add new cities over the next few weeks and any global city can to nominate itself to be included through an online form.

In Dublin, city leaders have already been testing the tool and are using EIE insights to inform smart transit programs with the goal of reducing emissions and increasing the use of cleaner modes of travel.

Owen Keegan, chief executive of Dublin City Council said: ‘Now we can bring Environmental Insights Explorer data analytics to conversations about transportation greenhouse gas emissions and show people the impact of supporting such programs to help start reducing emissions for our entire city which can help inform the debate.’

Google is also making available new hyperlocal, street-level air quality data, starting in Copenhagen.

This is part of EIE Labs which will pilot climate focused datasets as a critical indicator for prioritising and tracking climate action.

Rasmus Reeh, senior developer at Copenhagen Solutions Lab said: ‘Measuring ultrafine particles and black carbon at street level are important steps for the City of Copenhagen to understand how we can prioritise actions to secure a clean and healthy city for our citizens.

‘This new data displays the dynamic levels of ultrafine particles and black carbon with a strong overall relation to traffic patterns, but also hotspots like the narrow streets in our old city center.’

GCoM executive director, Amanda Eichel, says: ‘We believe EIE can serve as a critical first step for city sustainability teams to better assess their current situation and more efficiently track and monitor their progress in meeting their climate protection goals.’

Earlier this year, Google began sharing with scientists the air quality data that it’s been gathering through Street View cars.

The cars have racked up 140,000 miles and 7,000 hours of driving having being equipped with Aclima’s mobile sensor platform to measure nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM 2.5, PM 10), ultrafine particulate matter (PM 0.1), and black carbon.

Photo Credit – Pixabay