High-res air pollution map available globally


Leicester-based air quality monitoring systems and services developer EarthSense has announced a new release of its MappAir high-resolution map of air pollution, with the system now available globally as well as the addition of more pollutants and street-level definition.

Previously only available for the UK, EarthSense’s MappAir air pollution map now covers any city in the world to 33-feet (10m) resolution, with powerful new features and three extra pollutants monitored. MappAir now provides hourly concentrations of five pollutants, adding ozone (O3,), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particle matter (PM10) to its existing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particle matter (PM2.5) measures. Another new feature of MappAir is that its data is now accessible via a simple application programming interface (API) that enables multiple options for users to access the data.

EarthSense incorporates a range of reliable data sources into MappAir, including data from satellites, weather data, traffic counts, static sources and its own Zephyr air quality monitoring sensors. MappAir is the only air pollution system that uses a complex modelling technique called computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which examines the flow and dispersion of air in built-up environments enabling improved pollution measures in ‘urban canyons’ where a street is flanked by buildings on both sides. MappAir is validated against air quality data from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), diffusion tubes, and a rapidly expanding network of the company’s Zephyr air quality sensors in mobile and static configurations ensuring a high level of accuracy.

MappAir can identify when and where pollution levels are at their highest and lowest, making it a highly valuable tool for use in many applications including traffic light sequencing, clean route apps for cyclists and walkers, and defining ‘geofenced’ control zones where hybrid vehicles automatically switch to electric mode on entering the area. Tripsology, an online resource for travelers, is currently using MappAir to produce an index of air pollution levels at its featured destinations around the world, so that people can check pollution levels before deciding on a trip. Shropshire County Council in the UK is also using MappAir within its air quality webpage designed by EarthSense, which members of the public can use to check pollution levels in their area.

“Using CFD allows us to offer highly detailed insights into air pollution on a scale previously not achievable with traditional methods. MappAir makes air pollution data more accessible than ever, which is important for demonstrating the impact of pollution on human health and the environment,” explained Dr Antoine Jeanjean, EarthSense’s head of modelling. “These latest developments mean we can not only monitor pollution at street level, but can now build a global picture of air pollution and incorporate a greater number of pollution sources. Furthermore, MappAir now offers a three-day pollution forecast for the entire globe.”

EarthSense’s managing director, Tom Hall, added, “We are focused on continuous product development to suit the needs of users. The advances to MappAir enables organizations around the world to benefit from accessing the best available data on this scale and resolution.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.