The hackAIR project
hackAIR is an EU-funded project aiming to develop an open technology platform for citizen observatories on air quality. It is supported through the EU programme on “Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation” until December 2018.
Following a co-creation process with users and the development of the hackAIR platform and its components, the hackAIR platform will be pilot tested in Norway and Germany starting in September 2017 in order to validate the service platform and contribute towards individual and collective awareness about air quality in Europe, encouraging changes in behaviour towards air quality improvements.
By pilot testing the hackAIR platform and related collective sensing tools, the project aims to raise collective awareness about the daily levels of human exposure to air pollution.
Air pollution is an environmental issue with serious health and lifespan implications. However, it remains difficult for citizens to assess their exposure to air pollution and air quality issues in their country. Official air quality sensors are often few and far between, coverage is poor outside cities, and their data is not always easily accessible.
The hackAIR platform
The hackAIR open platform will enable communities of citizens to easily engage their members in generating and publishing information relevant to outdoor air pollution, leveraging the power of citizen science, online social networks, mobile and open hardware technologies, and engagement strategies.
hackAIR aims to complement official data with community-driven data sources, for collecting, analysing and sharing air quality measurements to community members through low-cost open hardware sensors easily assembled by citizens, web and/or mobile phones.
The hackAIR platform will be composed of a website and a complementary mobile application that provides citizens with improved information about air pollution levels where they live.
hackAIR will engage communities of citizens in generating and publishing information relevant to outdoor air pollution including:
|Citizens (e.g. elderly, parents of small children, outdoor sport enthusiasts, conservationists) and app/service developers.||Can submit data through the hackAIR platform.|
|Open source community and operators of personal weather stations.||Can build an air quality monitoring station.|
|Organisations, environmental organizations, health associations, makerspaces, educational organizations.||Can organise local hackAIR workshops to build awareness.|
|Scientific community (universities, research institutes, NGOs, independent researchers).||Can use data to gain insights on air quality patterns; use hackAIR platform and communication channels for dialogue.|
|Enterprises interested in hackAIR products and services for other health related apps, etc.||Can use products and services created by hackAIR.|
|Local government and transport-related agencies.||Can use data to inform public policy.|
Citizens benefit from the platform through easy engagement and participation in monitoring atmospheric PM, receiving real-time information on the current status of air quality, participating in a community of like-minded users who are concerned about the effects of air pollution, receiving personalised recommendations on actions that they can perform as individual members.
- “We should be concerned and informed about the air quality in our neighbourhood. The good news is: you can be informed and contribute to this yourself with hackAIR! The biggest strength of hackAIR is making the problem visible. Its uniqueness lies in elaborating openness (open source), using pictures as measurement tool, and easy to use hardware hack solutions. Within our organisation, hackAIR is a great opportunity to involve and attract members and local groups, a fun way to become active on the topic of air quality.” (Arne Fellermann, BUND)
- “Air quality is mostly an invisible issue: it should never become so bad that you can see it. hackAIR is European, it has all these different sources, it’s an open platform. But really: most people don’t even know that air quality monitoring systems exist, so in its core hackAIR is all about awareness. It’s about taking care of the earth.” (Paulien Coppens, VUB)
- “With hackAIR we really work on collective awareness: what can people jointly do? It is not just about user-provided data, we aim at improving official measurements.” (Christodoulos Keratidis, DRAXIS)
- “hackAIR invites citizens to evolve from passive receivers of information into active contributors. For example schools in Norway have to know when it is best for the children to play and sleep outside, and at the same time they can provide part of the data for this themselves.” (Hai-Ying Liu, NILU)
- “hackAIR is all about motivating people to contribute, making them more aware and creating a bigger interest in quality data. If your own municipality doesn’t provide information on air quality, you can provide and get information yourself. Our previous experiences in related projects made us enthusiastic to explore how informatics can contribute to more and better accessible air quality data.” (Natasa Moumtzidou, CERTH)