Google reveals air quality maps of LA and San Francisco

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  • Google Earth and Aclima mapped air pollution in The San Francisco Bay Area, LA and the Central Valley region
  • They used Google Street View cars with air quality sensors and drove 100,000 miles for over 4,000 hours
  • The project was conducted with the of using the information to help build smarter, more sustainable cities
  • The found that in Los Angeles, for example, traffic-chocked freeways, traffic on local streets and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence air pollution patterns 

Cecile Borkhataria For Dailymail.com

Most air pollution is measures at a city level, but air quality can change by block, as well as hour by hour and from day to day. 

In order to better understand air quality on a more local level, Google Earth partnered with environmental sensor network firm Aclima to map air pollution across California, with the hopes of using the information to help build smarter, more sustainable cities. 

They used Google Street View cars equipped with air quality sensors, and are now sharing some of their findings for the three California regions they’ve mapped: The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and California’s Central Valley. 

In Los Angeles for example, the measurements indicate that traffic-chocked freeways, traffic on local streets and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence the patterns of air pollution. 

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Air pollution map of San Francisco. The Nitogen Dioxide (NO2) scale indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. A large percentage of air pollution emissions in San Francisco comes from vehicles like cars, trucks and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants

To conduct the analysis, the Street View cars drove 100,000 miles over the course of 4,000 hours for a three month period. 

Google Earth says scientists and air quality specialists can use this information to help local organizations, governments and regulators in identifying opportunities to achieve greater air quality improvement and solutions. 

GOOGLE’S POLLUTION MAP PROJECT 

Google Earth partnered with environmental sensor network firm Aclima to map air pollution across California. 

The air quality project, launched in 2015, has already driven 14,000 miles (22,000 km) around the US and has now released a prototype map online.

Earlier this year, the partners shared the first results of this effort with pollution levels throughout the city of Oakland.

They used Google Street View cars equipped with air quality sensors, and are now sharing a new set of findings for three California regions they’ve mapped: The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and California’s Central Valley.

The NO2 scale indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. In Los Angeles (pictured), the measurements indicate that traffic-chocked freeways, traffic on local streets and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence the patterns of air pollution 

The NO2 scale indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. In Los Angeles (pictured), the measurements indicate that traffic-chocked freeways, traffic on local streets and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence the patterns of air pollution 

The NO2 scale indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. In Los Angeles (pictured), the measurements indicate that traffic-chocked freeways, traffic on local streets and weather patterns that blow pollution inland all influence the patterns of air pollution 

To conduct the analysis, the Street View cars drove 100,000 miles over the course of 4,000 hours for a three month period. 

Google Earth released heat maps showing Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels across three regions.

The NO2 scale in the videos indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. 

Google Earth says scientists and air quality specialists can use this information to help local organizations, governments and regulators in identifying opportunities to achieve greater air quality improvement and solutions.  

Google Earth has released some of the findings for the regions via heat maps showing Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels across three regions.

The NO2 scale in the videos indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. 

The findings for San Francisco show that compared to Los Angeles, it is a higher density city. 

A large percentage of air pollution emissions in San Francisco comes from vehicles like cars, trucks and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants.  

The measurements there indicate street-level pollution patterns are affected by these local and distributed sources.  

By contrast, California’s Central Valley is rural with agriculture, but it’s also home to cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto.

Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 are two major traffic corridors that run through the region, connecting Northern and Southern California, and traffic on these interstates, along with regional traffic and industry and agriculture, are sources of air pollution in the region. 

The findings for San Francisco show that compared to Los Angeles, it is a higher density city. A large percentage of air pollution emissions in San Francisco comes from vehicles like cars, trucks and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants

The findings for San Francisco show that compared to Los Angeles, it is a higher density city. A large percentage of air pollution emissions in San Francisco comes from vehicles like cars, trucks and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants

The findings for San Francisco show that compared to Los Angeles, it is a higher density city. A large percentage of air pollution emissions in San Francisco comes from vehicles like cars, trucks and construction equipment, and industrial sources like refineries and power plants

NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco Bay Area, the measurements indicate street-level pollution patterns are affected by local and distributed sources

NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco Bay Area, the measurements indicate street-level pollution patterns are affected by local and distributed sources

NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco Bay Area, the measurements indicate street-level pollution patterns are affected by local and distributed sources

The NO2 scale in the videos indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. Pictured is an NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco bay Area

The NO2 scale in the videos indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. Pictured is an NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco bay Area

The NO2 scale in the videos indicates pollution levels, with blue indicating low NO2 levels, and yellow indicating high NO2 levels. Pictured is an NO2 pollution map for the San Francisco bay Area

In addition, weather conditions and topography can trap air pollution between the coast and the Sierra Nevada mountains, leading to chronic ozone and particulate matter levels that exceed public health standards. 

So far, Google Earth and Aclima have measures over one billion air quality data points, but the partners will conduct further measurements and now air quality scientists can request access to the data.  

The partners hope that the data helps reduce climate changing greenhouse gases and improve air quality for healthier living. 

NO2 pollution map for California's Central Valley region. The region is rural with agriculture, but it's also home to cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto

NO2 pollution map for California's Central Valley region. The region is rural with agriculture, but it's also home to cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto

NO2 pollution map for California’s Central Valley region. The region is rural with agriculture, but it’s also home to cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto

NO2 pollution map for California's Central Valley region. Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 are two major traffic corridors that run through the region, connecting Northern and Southern California, and traffic on these interstate, along with regional traffic and industry and agriculture, are sources of air pollution in the region

NO2 pollution map for California's Central Valley region. Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 are two major traffic corridors that run through the region, connecting Northern and Southern California, and traffic on these interstate, along with regional traffic and industry and agriculture, are sources of air pollution in the region

NO2 pollution map for California’s Central Valley region. Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 are two major traffic corridors that run through the region, connecting Northern and Southern California, and traffic on these interstate, along with regional traffic and industry and agriculture, are sources of air pollution in the region