Spotlight: OpenAQ

What is OpenAQ?

OpenAQ aggregates physical air quality data from public data sources provided by government, research-grade and other sources. So far, the community has collected 26,031,714 air quality measurements from 2,680 locations in 25 countries. Data are aggregated from 32 government level and research-grade sources. Check out the map here.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-12-05-12-pm
OpenAQ collaborators (clockwise): Daniel Silva (Portgual), Joe Flasher (USA), Dolugen Buraalda (Mongolia), Anna Scalamogna and Olaf Veerman (USA), Christa Hasenkopf (USA) and Maëlle Salmon (Spain) [pictured together], Smokey the Air Quality Bot and Amrit Sharma (India) and Langley Dewitt (Rwanda) [in centre] 

OpenAQ was founded by Christa Hasenkopf and Joe Flasher, and now includes a global community of collaborators including Maëlle Salmon who has written an R package [ropenaq], Amrit Sharma who has designed a free app [SmokeyBot] for accessing air quality data, and others.

The global OpenAQ community believes that open access to air quality data empowers the public to fight air inequality. OpenAQ’s mission is”to enable previously impossible science, impact policy and empower the public to fight air pollution through open data, open-source tools, and cooperation”.

They invite everyone to suggest new data sources, fix GH issues, or otherwise help to continue building their infrastructure.

 

Here is what Christa Hasenkopf, co-founder of OpenAQ has to say:

What motivated you to start OpenAQ?

Air inequality – the unequal distribution of healthy air to breathe – is such a massive injustice, responsible for millions of unnecessary deaths each year. And what compounds this injustice is that in the places where basic air quality data are most needed, it is often the case that these data are hardest to find. At the same time, there are millions of air quality data points collected by governments and streamed out publicly onto the internet every day in disparate, sometimes temporary forms. 
 
Looking around, I found a few awesome organizations that were collecting these real-time data on a global scale, but no one was interested in making them openly available in the transparent manner that, in my opinion, is necessary to realize the full utility of these data to the public. My co-founder Joe Flasher, a software developer, and I (an atmospheric scientist) realized we had the skill set to quit complaining about this gap and instead we could start capturing and sharing that data in a universal format. To do that, we started OpenAQ about a year and half ago, and since then, we have relied on like-minded people around the world to join us in helping build and use this platform.

What is your message to the scientific community and IoT community? 

Our platform exists to be used and shaped by you. We welcome – and need – your help to keep building the platform, building open-source tools on top of it, and using the aggregated data to advance the fight against air inequality.  

Learn more about OpenAQ .

Find them on Twitter, GitHub and Slack or send them an e-mail (info@openaq.org

 

OpenAQ is coming to Delhi! 

In November, OpenAQ is hosting an AQ workshop in Delhi in collaboration with Care for Air and UrbanEmissions.info . The goal of the workshop is to introduce OpenAQ’s open-source global air quality data platform and convene a diverse and passionate group of open air quality data enthusiasts!  Learn more

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