A new online tool from Google makes it easier for cities to measure levels of air pollution.
The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) analyses Google’s global mapping data to estimate building and transportation carbon emissions and renewable energy potential. This data can help local authorities develop policies and solutions and measure progress in reducing overall carbon emissions and pollution across their cities.
Initially, the free tool will be made available in Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton and Coventry.
City leaders in Dublin have been testing the tool, and are using EIE insights to inform smart transit programmes with the goal of reducing emissions and increasing the use of cleaner modes of travel.
Owen Keegan, chief executive of Dublin City Council, said: “Now we can bring Environmental Insights Explorer data analytics to conversations about transportation greenhouse gas emissions and show people the impact of supporting such programmes to help start reducing emissions for our entire city, which can help inform the debate.”
Google also plans to make available new hyperlocal, street-level air quality data, starting in Copenhagen.
The tech giant is working with the City of Copenhagen and scientists at Utrecht University, bringing in data from Project Air View, which equips Google Street View vehicles with scientific instruments to measure air quality at street level. The preliminary map shows the block-by-block concentration of black carbon and ultrafine particle pollution, which Copenhagen is already using to work with architects and designers to rethink the city for the future.
Google has also enabled 50 more Street View cars to capture air quality measurements on roads around the globe, and said it hopes the insights will inspire cities to transform their own transport vehicle fleets into environmental sensing platforms.