The Breathe London project is an effort that emerged in 2018 with the intention of monitoring air quality in one of the world's leading cities. With over 100 AQMesh 'capsules' located across the city, Breathe London partners were able, for the first time, to provide hyper-local details on London's air quality.
Each AQMesh capsule contained small, low-cost sensors, developed and manufactured in the UK by Alphasens. In addition, Breathe London also equipped Google Street View cars with reference quality monitors, which complemented and expanded the existing regulatory monitoring network in London.
One of its most important advantages is that during its creation it was demonstrated that the sensors are capable of measuring rates in intervals of less than one minute, unlike others that take about 15 minutes. In this regard, Professor Jones said “By capturing data faster, we were able to implement advanced features such as remote calibration and source attribution. So, we are excited to take the learnings from a low-cost network and apply them to a reference station network in a new project that is currently underway in Glasgow.”
Breathe London objectives
Currently, this project has 3 main objectives:
1. Develop innovative and low-cost monitors
Before acquiring a low-cost monitor, it is necessary to know its effectiveness in monitoring air quality, and the reliability of the data provided. In this regard, the experts in charge of this project concluded that it is designed with an emerging system that can identify and characterize the levels of polluted air.
2. Provide solutions for cleaner air
Another objective of this project is to help find " critical points" in air quality systems using a low-cost sensor. This would give areas of the country with few resources access to find new alternatives to combat pollution by identifying the places that need the most attention.
3. Make air pollution data available to the public and view it in new and innovative ways
Breathe London aims to transcend traditional methods of measuring air quality through a simplified format. They now offer the opportunity to provide a real-time map for users to find the actual data for the streets where the AQMesh capsules are located. Therefore, as people have the areas with the highest air quality indices, they can choose their own route to travel and stay under a cleaner range.
This project offers new alternatives for air quality management in the world, demonstrating that a system is maintained by the contribution of all its components. Moreover, the precursors of this initiative enabled its partners to develop new methods to improve data quality with more optimal, user-friendly, and lower-cost calibration.