Energy & Environment

Measuring Air Quality in U.S. Cities

A nonprofit is working to create a real-time map of air quality in U.S. cities that will be available to the public.
by | September 24, 2012

Air pollution has been linked to serious health problems such as lung cancer, but without accurate mapping the effects of poor air quality can be hard to study, trace and solve. But now, a nonprofit company -- with $400,000 from the Knight Foundation -- is working to create a real-time map of air quality in U.S. cities, starting with Los Angeles -- which is infamous for its not-so-great breeze. The nonprofit, Safecast, will be developing custom sensors to collect the data. Once developed the prototype sensor will be open-sourced so that any member of the public can purchase or build one to collect air pollution data for themselves or to contribute to the company's mapping efforts. They will rely on teams of volunteers to collect the data after which it will be available to the public on the company's website.

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