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University research supports project to gather air pollution data through space–enabled technology

EarthSense – a joint venture between our University and aerial mapping company Bluesky – has provided detailed air pollution data in near real time for Bicester.

Leicester research has helped to support a project to gather important air pollution data using space-enabled technology. 

Providing a combination of EarthSense Zephyr air pollution sensors and near real time air quality modelling, EarthSense - a joint venture between our University and aerial mapping company Bluesky – is helping to identify air pollution hot spots and exposure levels.

Zephyr is a flexible portable air pollution sensor which started from University research.

Named an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), Bicester is a rapidly growing town experiencing large volumes of traffic and associated air quality issues.

EarthSense Zephyr monitors are being used in a three-week demonstration providing accurate information on the concentrations of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particle matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) in the area.

The portable Zephyr air quality sensors were used to undertake mobile monitoring of pollutants over the course of a demonstration day in Bicester on the 25th of September 2018.

Air pollution data was captured by the Zephyr along key routes in Bicester according to mode of transport: in-car, walking and cycling. A mobile Zephyr deployed in a hybrid Toyota Yaris, provided by Inchcape Toyota in Bicester, measured real time levels of NO2 during peak times throughout the day.

Working with partners Geospatial Insight and Redshift Associates, the project aims to map levels of NO2 across Bicester, presenting an overall picture of air quality. 

Satellite, traffic and meteorological data will supplement Zephyr measurements through EarthSense models underpinned by university research, mapping near real-time air hourly NO2 pollution concentrations onto street maps.

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