Nov 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Mapping air pollution at the neighborhood level

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Breezometer visualization of 24 hours of air pollution in Brooklyn. Credit: Breezometer

An Israeli startup is providing near block-by-block analysis and forecasts of air quality data.

Why it matters: The more we learn about air pollution, the worse it appears for us — even at what seem like low levels. Being able to visualize the dynamic state of air quality at a granular level can help people protect their health, and even decide where to live.

How it works: Breezometer taps air quality sensors to create a microlocal forecast that changes every 15 ft. to 16 ft., in real time, says Ran Korber, the company's founder and CEO.

  • Users can see air pollution levels not just in their region or city, but along their block.

Details: Machine-learning algorithms can forecast air quality for dozens of pollutants with what Korber says is 90% confidence six hours into the future, though that accuracy declines over longer periods.

By the numbers: The global air quality monitoring market is valued at nearly $5 billion according to one estimate and is projected to grow by more than 5% a year.

  • COVID-19 severity has been connected to air pollution, and Korber says he has noticed an uptick in users looking to Breezometer to tell them "where they should live during lockdown."

The bottom line: As sensors of all kinds become more sensitive, less expensive and more ubiquitous — and as algorithms that can make sense of those readings improve — expect more products like this one.

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