Using Smart Phones as Air Pollution Monitors

Visibility Monitoring using Mobile Phones (14 pages, University of Southern California)

Also discussed here: Air Quality Monitoring Gets Smart (The Front Page, American Meteorological Society, Oct. 21, 2010)

And here: Mapping Pollution with Pigeons (Pollution Free Cities, July 10, 2010)


Key Quotes:

“The user takes a picture of the sky which is tagged with location, orientation, and time data and transfered to a backend server.

“the app can compare it to accepted models of the luminance of the sky for that location.. provides an estimate of visibility, which in turn helps in calculating the amount of certain types of aerosols in the atmosphere”

“the app can calculate the orientation of the camera and the sun and the time the picture was taken and send that information and the actual picture to a computer, which then estimates the pollution level for the area shown in the picture.”

“Atmospheric visibility refers to the clarity with which distant objects are perceived…The atmospheric pollutants that most often affect visibility exist as haze aerosols which are tiny particles (10 m and smaller) dispersed in air that scatter sunlight, imparting a distinctive gray hue to the sky.. may originate as emissions from natural sources (e.g., sea salt entrainment and windblown dust) or from manmade sources (e.g., automobile exhaust and mining activities)”

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