Year/Course: 2019-2020, Easter 2020
Project type: Development

Inventor: Peter Pedersen, EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy & Sustainable Future and open-seneca
Mentor: Dr. Bill Matthews

Open-seneca was set up by a group of Cambridge PhD students from the Sensor CDT with the aim of using citizen science to create a global air quality monitoring network.

Their solution uses low cost, mobile air quality sensors to collect data that their platform can analyse and present in a user-friendly way. With sufficient data points they can generate dynamic air quality maps for entire cities or regions. Pilot schemes have been carried out in Cambridge UK (through the CamBike Sensor project) and Buenos Aires, and a third pilot is underway in Nairobi.

Urban pollutants from motor vehicles, construction and industrial facilities are one of the main causes of climate change and many of the health problems we experience today. However, many people feel a lack of personal connection to the realities and impacts of climate change. Open-seneca’s vision is to bridge this gap by enabling individuals to measure their personal exposure to such pollutants as they go about their daily lives. The hope is that raising awareness eventually will initiate real behaviour change.

The challenge for the i-Team is to engage with relevant experts in the field of air quality and pollution monitoring to investigate where there is most interest in monitoring air quality in urban areas using citizen science. What data needs to be collected and from where? In addition, how might such projects be funded, and what impact might funding models have on who can use the resulting data?