Smart Air Quality Network
The development of a close-meshed network of local fine-dust data,                which can be fed and used well by general public.

Project goals, work packages and duration

One goal of SmartAQnet is the development and utilization of partially existing (but not yet merged) data on the one hand and the collection and integration of relevant missing data on the other hand. This includes the integration of third-party measurement sources as well as the development of novel measurement devices, as well as an improvement in overall data quality and the identification and implementation of meaningful interfaces between devices, databases and the end-user. The data are then implemented as examples of novel applications. For this entire data-driven software chain z.T. also new methods are explored. Specifically, these are big data analyzes for quality improvement and model validation, as well as novel algorithms, e.g. for distributed calibration, verification of data sources or privacy of the measuring individuals. To reach our goals, these work packages will be performed within the project duration:

WP 1 - Feasibility study: The project includes a feasibility study that investigates the potential of widespread distributed aerosol measurements with intelligent measurement networks of heterogeneous sensors in urban areas. Based on the (new) development of communicating "Scientific Scouts" (particle measurement devices) for mobile and stationary use, the small-scale high-resolution collection of pollutant data takes place. These measurements are taken by trained professionals, but other participants can also be recruited (for example pupils, students, members of professional associations, environmental organizations, etc.). These data are extended with "horizontal measurements" (generation of a three-dimensional measuring point cloud), operational measuring flights and "ultra-low-cost" sensor technology (measuring attachment for smartphones). By comparing stationary and mobile measurements with reference measurements and source analyzes, statements can be made to ensure the measurement quality. In particular, the possibilities and dangers of merging data, which on the one hand have collected experts and, on the other hand, laymen, are examined and finally the prospects of success of the project for the future are determined.

WP 2 - Data collection: Another essential part of the project work is to bundle existing scientific, technical and economic competence on the one hand and data from different sources on the other hand and thus to enable a novel application for different actors right through to the end user. As part of the project work, various prototypes and demonstrators for data acquisition are to be developed. For this purpose, a requirement analysis for the newly developed measuring instruments is indispensable. This requirement analysis includes substantial considerations such as low investment cost, high temporal resolution, high environmental tolerance (e.g. temperature, humidity), network capability, long term stability and low maintenance. Based on this, autonomous, communicating particle measuring devices (so-called "Scientific Scouts") for mobile and stationary use are developed and manufactured in the BMVI-funded smartAQnet project. The focus in development is on two different measuring instruments: on the one hand devices for particle masses (PM values) and on the other hand measuring devices for particle number and particle size distribution (source identification). In both devices, self-diagnostic tools should also be included, for example, to assess levels of pollution and related measured value drift and to be able to independently correct them. In addition to the measured values ​​recorded by means of "Scientific Scouts", ultra-low-cost sensors (smartphone attachment) are also used for data acquisition - as already mentioned in the WP feasibility study. Since these are mostly operated by laymen, an appealing design and ease of use must be guaranteed. As a result, the project mainly involves young users and participates in the design process, functionality and usability through "User Centered Design". In addition, the measured data obtained with low-cost sensors are verified by reference measurements and their suitability demonstrated in a number of demonstrator applications.

WP 3 - Data aggregation and analysis: A large amount of relevant data is already available today, for example data from the German Weather Service (DWD). In cooperation with the BMBF urban climate project, the area distributions of aerosols and other air pollutants recorded with mobile phones and other data sources will be compared with the new BMBF urban climate model calculated distributions. To obtain comprehensive information on air quality, advanced interpolation methods, such as various Krigin variants, must be used. Finally, the synthesis of air quality measurement data and information on the micro-scale meteorological situation of representative times leads to an assessment of the plausibility and consistency of the data set and not least important findings for the understanding of the air pollutant distribution. The integrated data can be used together with the results of the land use models to model the personal (individual) exposure to the measured pollutants. The project further develops the recording of the small-scale pollutant distribution based on the temporal component. The aim is to develop models that can be used in future, innovative epidemiological short-term studies.

WP 4 - Data-based applications and services: Based on the acquired data and information, informative, interesting and exciting applications can be developed. One possibility is in an open big data architecture general correlated features such as e.g. building densities, green area shares and traffic flow integrating into a predictive air quality prediction system scalable beyond the model region. This prototypical application is intended to show how city planners and environmental offices can be supported in a variety of ways on the basis of constantly updated data as decision support. Another possibility is an air quality related traffic routing: design e.g. your own cycling route to work based on current fine dust values. Alternatively, the collaboration with schools and citizens serves to stimulate, realize and test new ideas and applications. Just contact us and learn more about relevant topics!

WP 5 - Data-oriented utilization: The data generated during the course of the project will be published, for which, inter alia, this website is designed. Furthermore, the contact to other projects is searched again and again, in order to check possible synergy effects, opportunities for cooperation and improvement. Furthermore, two public hackathons will be conducted. Hackathons are events where all attendees gather together to create new, useful, creative and / or entertaining software products. During the project phase, the dates as well as a scientific event with an international review board will be announced on the website. From the end of the project, a user-related closing event will take place including "Open House with Measurement and Application Demonstrations".


The BMVI-funded project SmartAQnet runs from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020.