Google is Now Measuring Air Pollution in the US Cities

///Google is Now Measuring Air Pollution in the US Cities

Google has used its Street View vehicles to measure air pollution in US cities. The first result of the study was the detailed maps of Oakland, California, where the dioxin and CO2 exposure is highest.

The cars of Google Street View can do more than just take shots from the streets of this world. In Oakland, California, Google has used its vehicles for the study High-Resolution Air Pollution Mapping with Google Street View Cars: Exploiting Big Data to capture air pollution in the 400,000-inhabitant city accurately.

For the project, Google collaborated with the University of Texas at Austin, the NGO Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the company Aclima. Between May 2015 and May 2016, street-view cars drove a total of more than 25,000 kilometers across Oakland and collected specific airborne data in the metropolitan area using special sensors. Typically, such data is determined with fixed stations, and Google vehicles have been given the opportunity to work much more precisely thanks to their mobility.

During the study period, the vehicles rolled an average 30 times over each street in Oakland, resulting in a total of 2.7 million measurement points. Google generated an interactive Google Maps card that the EDF published on its website.


The environmental organization shows which streets the exposure to CO2 or nitrogen is the highest. As you would expect, the values on and in the vicinity of Highways are the highest as heavy trucks drive along the way.

High buildings also ensure that people are exposed to health risks because the fresh air exchange is disturbed in such areas. Due to the high levels of air pollution, there are twice as many asthmatics in Oakland as Alameda County, also located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to a blog post from Aclima, the study was a pilot project to be expanded in the future. The company, which offers sensors and cloud solutions among other things, reached an agreement with Google in September 2015 that the street-view vehicles in other US cities should measure the air pollution.

To date, the converted cars have driven nearly 130,000 kilometers through California to collect data for further environmental studies in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are to be published in the coming months.

By |2017-06-16T14:54:47+00:00June 16th, 2017|Cloud Computing, Technology|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Daniel Ogeto Omwancha November 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Kudos to Google for this noble and worthy cause. With the increased use of digital technology, and the many innovative startups, for me this is the most awesome application of technology, because I love the environment around me clean and fresh. Every day we use data about the world around us to make decisions. One useful dataset is air pollution data, which contains much-needed information that can help us understand how to live healthier lives, build smarter and more sustainable cities, and reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases in both urban and rural areas. The maps can help cities and residents figure out causes and solutions to urban air quality problems. Using that detailed data, someone might decide whether they want to buy a particular house or whether their children should walk to school along a particular route. With evidence of air pollution levels in their own neighborhoods, citizens could push for change. Cities could use it to identify hotspots that need improvement, or when implementing new policy–like a fleet of electric buses–to concretely show the effect of the change. It’s a technology that makes visible what is now mostly invisible, and when it comes to air pollution, what you can’t see can hurt you.

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