The quality of the air we breathe has an enormous influence on our health. However, if you find yourself in bad air, it usually has little or no immediate visible or tangible effect. Even the long-term effect is difficult to estimate or predict. All we can do is try to ensure that our air is of the best possible quality. We, as humans, do not have easy ways to sense whether the air is healthy. One of the few ways you can sense this is if it is another smog alert.
Under the motto “To measure is to know”, you want to carry out as many measurements as possible with measuring stations that continuously supply data. On the website of the Flemish Environment Agency, you can see the current air quality measured at these measuring stations. These data are then used to estimate the quality for the whole of Flanders through a mathematical model.
You can see the result in this GIF:
Setting up measuring stations is a major problem in all countries. Together with the growing interest in the quality of our air and the many possibilities of open hardware, the Luftdaten project was launched.
As you can see from this map, data is collected from all over the world:
The data for this map is submitted by sensors placed all over the world, with open source code that anyone can contribute to.
Influencair is a Brussels-based organization that wants to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of good air quality. They want to support this by taking measurements themselves and helping others to take the same measurements.
You can see the current measurements here:
This map combines the data from the existing measuring stations with the data from the new sensors. It goes without saying: The more sensors we have, the better our understanding of air quality in our region.
It is also possible to compile your own sensor and link it to the Luftdaten project. The best thing to do is to contact Influencair. On their website you will find all the necessary information about components and materials needed to get this sensor in the air.