Breathe NYC
Real-time Air Quality City Map of NYC
GOAL: A real-time air quality map of New York City, that uses moving city vehicles (e.g., buses, citibikes, taxis, etc) as sensors.

WHY: Air quality affects every New Yorker, and NYC's environmental footprint affects the global climate. Measuring air quality in real-time can give us live data to help us understand trends over time and quickly measure the impact of new environmental-friendly initiatives.

However, measuring air quality in real-time has been limited so far:
1. Installing sensors all over the city is expensive.
2. Merging, analyzing data in real-time is hard, leading to static datasets.

1. Use moving vehicles to cover large parts of the city with a limited number of sensors, building aggregate maps based on merged data from different vehicles.

2. Build a backend infrastructure that merges and analyzes environmental sensor data, computing an air quality score in real-time.

3. Build a real-time map to visualize the live output data.

1. Collecting data: Android app that collects temperature, humidity, air pressure, and geo (lat/long) data, and sends it to our backend. For the sake of this demo, we collected data by walking around midtown, but this could be easily extended to bikes / vehicles, etc.

2. Analyzing data: Backend that takes the raw data, averages it by location and time, and then computes a rough air quality score, all in real-time.

3. Visualizing data: Simple webpage that actively displays the latest data on a map, again in real-time (using the Google Maps API).

DEMO: The attached video shows our prototype in action (Green = good, Red = bad). As you can see, Bryant Park has the best air quality, because of airflow, while Rockefeller Center has the worst, because of congestion.

FUTURE WORK: Use sensors with better GPS accuracy (less "jumpiness"). Test with sensors on top of actual buses. Let individuals self-report data to build a broader data set. Collect more environmental data.
  • Free version available
Poor access to data, Health
  • smart cities, environment, sensing, IoT, crowdsourcing data
Target Users
  • People living and visiting New York City.
Available in the following app stores
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