Air Quality Citizen Science project – early testing of the PM sensors

Following on from previous posts describing the PM sensors that we are using, the next steps are about testing them before giving them out to volunteers.

This post will describe some of these tests and also give some insight into what data is generated and how it can be used.

Some simple trips with the sensors allow me to capture data and make sure they are working as expected. The data that is captured is stored on the phone (android smartphone) and can be later uploaded to the aircasting website or to any other source. The aircasting website is a community mapping development by HabitatMap and provides a form of crowd-sourced data. An example of this is shown below and can be found hereaircasting_map

Beyond this pooling of data in a community map like the aircasting website, it’s also possible to look at individual data streams. This was part of the testing process for our AirBeam sensors. The data from one trip with one of the sensors (unit 1 for reference) is shown in the diagram below:

unit1_test

This shows a single trip in south Liverpool near Allerton Road. The individual data points are visible, with a simple colour coding according to the spread of the data i.e. green are lower values and red are higher values: this does not necessarily mean that red is unhealthy however, it’s just a higher reading.

The diagram below shows the same trip and data but zoomed it for one part. The reading for one data point is also shown. This reading was taken on 13 October 2016 and the PM reading was 13.12 micrograms per cubic meter.

unit1_test_2

At this stage I will not go further into how this data can be used. The purpose of this post is simply to share some insight into the testing process. A goal of the project is to find out how this data can be useful to individuals and community groups – at this stage we just want to make sure the data is being generated and that it looks in line with expectations. The journey above supports the view that this sensor is working as expected.

More to follow on testing.

Air Quality sensors: first steps to set them up

A previous post announced the arrival of our first two #airquality sensors. These two sensors measure particulate matter (PM); we are still waiting on delivery of two more sensors, which will measure nitrogen dioxide.

Now we’ve got these sensors, the first steps in our project plan are about setting them up before they are ready for use by volunteer participants. We also need to do some proper testing, but more on that in another post.

Below is a picture of our two AirBeams to measure PM:

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For the technically-minded the AirBeam is based upon the Arduino Leonardo. In addition to the particulate matter sensor inside the case, there is also a sensor to measure temperature and relative humidity. The AirBeams are battery powered and charged using a USB cable. These AirBeam needs to be used with an Android smartphone and a specific “app” has been developed for their use – the “aircasting” app is found here.

The AirBeam connects to the Android smartphone using bluetooth technology. The Android smartphone is primarily needed to provide a GPS location for the data that is recorded by the sensors. Additionally the microphone of the phone can be used to record local noise levels – potentially providing some insights into local noise pollution levels, although this is not the immediate focus of our project.

The screenshot below shows the aircasting app and the readings from the sensor. So, at this point in time (readings are taken every few seconds) PM was 6 micrograms (one millionth of a gram) per cubic meter. At the same time, relative humidity was 51%, temperature 60F and the sound level was 81dB. The colour coding can be configured and is designed to give a quick idea about current levels.

screenshot_20161023-164529

These readings update continuously and can be recorded on the smartphone for mapping or analysis. More on this in a later post.

Michael has been using this AirBeam for the last year or two and so is very familiar with its use. They are great devices, but of course have their limitations. One limitation is the need for an Android smartphone and so volunteers will need to have an appropriate phone for the sensor to work. This is a constraint, but we feel we can still learn a lot during the project.

More information to follow on the progress of our tests with these sensors and how the data can be used.

The first sensors arrive – unpacking the AirBeam PM Sensors

For our Air Quality project we have ordered:

The PM sensors are called AirBeams and were ordered from Habitat Map in the USA.

We ordered them 31 August 2016 and we’re glad to say they arrived a few weeks later. There were some minor customs charges, but at least we were underway!

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Opening up the box and there are two lovely new AirBeams. which we promptly labelled with a Sharpie pen – Liverpool FoE Sensor #1 and Sensor #2 are here!

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Next steps are to start testing and configuring these sensors in preparation for giving them to volunteers. We are still waiting on the NO2 sensors as well.

 

Air Quality in Liverpool

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We are looking at air quality within Liverpool as part of our local efforts.

We are currently running a “citizen science” project. To do this we are grateful for funding from the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.

This is a small-scale project with some simple objectives:

  1. We want to understand more about the different technologies that can be used to support citizen science initiatives around air quality
  2. We want to understand how these technologies, and the data they generate, can be used to help individuals and community groups.

No doubt there will be other learning along the way. For example, we are interested in how this sort of community-level engagement and “hyperlocal” data gathering can be used to supplement and complement city-level and national air quality monitoring and management.

You are invited to the Gary Mahoney Memorial Debate – “Green Routes to Justice: How We Can Achieve Human Fairness and Planetary Survival”

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On June 4th at 7:30pm Liverpool Friends of the Earth and Merseyside Environmental Trust invite you to the first annual Gary Mahoney Memorial Debate; in the Pearce Room, Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool L3 5UL.

A stimulating panel of speakers, chaired by Roger Phillips of BBC Radio Merseyside, will discuss “Green Routes to Justice: how we can achieve human fairness and planetary survival” – in the light of the recent General and local elections, among other factors.

For details about the panel please visit the eventbrite page here where you can RSVP. You can also take part in the facebook event discussions here on the run up to the event.

http://liverpoolfoe.org.uk/
Media Contact: Frank Kennedy, 07786 746704

Do you have what it takes to be a Climate Organiser?

Climate organiser_flyer-page-0Friends of the Earth are offering a supportive training programme programme for those with some campaigning experience interested in the idea of a Liverpool Climate Hub that will build upon the work already achieved by local groups and communities.

Climate organiser_flyer-page-1


The Climate Organisers programme details can be found on the FOE website
Do you have what it takes to be a Climate Organiser?

To find out a little more about our plans to grow a massive climate movement you can check out the international climate pages on the FOE website, and also we’ve got a page of key dates. Some of them have passed, but most of them are still relevant.

A LITTLE MORE ACTION PLEASE

This year has tons of opportunities for mobilising locally and nationally so let’s use to build and even stronger, bigger and more diverse climate movement in Liverpool. We could do that in lots of ways, and ultimately it’s up to you – the people of Liverpool – what you want to do. But we’ve got some suggestions:

  • Recruit some Climate Organisers to get trained up in key organising skills and support climate action
  • Hold a ‘Let’s talk about Climate Change’ skill share and action day. We learn to talk to people about climate change in a way that engages and leads to action, and then we give it a go! We take to the streets and talk to people about climate change, signing them up to the movement.
  • Organise & mobilise for some key actions over the next year, primarily:
    • June 17th – Mass Climate Lobby of Parliament
    • Decentralised action in the autumn – Reclaim Power
    • Go to Paris! UNFCC climate talks
    • People’s Demands assembly(ies) early 2016
  • Recruit people to our movement! New people who might not traditionally come into contact with climate campaigners. Let’s come into 2016 with a broad movement. Massive outreach, talks, public art, stalls, everything!
If interested please send an email to Laura by Sunday 19th April

Laura McFarlane-Shopes
Community Activism Coordinator
laura.mcfarlane-shopes@foe.co.uk

Why we should put a stop to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?

Communities are working together against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement because we believe it would jeopardise food safety, allow for more privatisation of public services such as the NHS and allow corporations more rights and allow them to sue governments if profits were affected by decisions made for public benefit. All bar one of the UK political parties is against it.
Watch the video

STOP TTIP Day of Action April 18th
We would like to invite you along on Saturday 18th April between 11-1 to show support against TTIP. We will meet on Church Street where it meets Bold Street (Opposite Lloyds bank) and we will give out leaflets and help share information about reasons for signing the petition against TTIP.
Sign the Petition here
#A18DoA  #nottip
Global Justice Now Flier WDM-NoTTIP-flyer-0814

The Gary Mahoney Memorial Bike Ride – a reminder. Sunday 19 April 2015 at 11:00am

Gary’s colleagues at Sefton Council have arranged a memorial bike ride. Details are below. All are welcome we’re sure.


Sunday 19 April 2015 at 11:00am we will be holding a supervised bike ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Starting at Southport Eco Centre and finishing at the Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre.

This cycle ride is open to all levels of cyclists and will take approximately 3 hours, covering a distance of 18 miles along the Sefton Coastal path. All donations welcome to http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Carlsen

For additional information and to register to take part in the bike ride please contact Chris Carlsen chris.carlsen@sefton.gov.uk 0151 934 4609

Poster is here: Gary_Mahoney_poster_-_charity_bike_ride_19.04.2015

FREE twelve week course : Understanding Energy

WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW ENERGY WORKS AND HOW WE CAN REDUCE OUR USE?

WANT TO GET BACK TO WORK?

THINKING ABOUT LAUNCHING A COMMUNITY ENERGY PROJECT OR INITIATIVE?

The L1 Accredited Award in Understanding Energy & Employability is a FREE twelve week course providing knowledge, skills and competencies around the topic of energy, energy use and the role of renewable energy in tackling climate change and an ever-changing energy market.

It equips participants to reduce their own energy use, acts a ‘carbon champions’ in their own communities or to start working in the energy sector, one of the UK’s fastest growing labour markets.

Course are starting soon in the Clubmoor/Tuebrook area and the City Centre.

All learning materials will be provided and there is help with travel costs.

The courses are friendly and jargon-free.

No prior knowledge of energy or renewable energy is necessary and you’ll gain valuable knowledge and experiences.

Individuals and community groups are welcome to participate.

If you are interested, email Good Neighbour Community Energy on contact@gnce.co.uk or phone 07908603884 and ask for Mark

START IMPROVING YOUR CHANCES IN THE JOB MARKET BY CONTACTING US NOW

Mark Shooter, GNCE