The AQDC

Who is involved?

The Air Quality Data Commons (AQDC) was created by the Air Sensor Workgroup (ASW), a collaboration of experts from academia, government agencies, sensor manufacturers and others from the private sector. The ASW supports the development and use of a wide variety of air quality sensors to measure air quality, so communities can utilize the data to advocate for cleaner air. Air quality data should be open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable, and the ASW plays an integral role in ensuring access, by providing infrastructural support, including the development of the AQDC and the adoption of data standards and standardized terms. ASW was first convened by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Both ASW members and AQDC's users use the platform to share, store, use, and discuss air quality data and sensors.

Why does it exist?

Recent advancements in sensor technology have led to a proliferation of low- to medium-cost air quality sensors that a wide variety of stakeholders are deploying . As a result, air quality measurement is no longer the exclusive domain of researchers using well-maintained, regulatory-grade equipment. This shift has produced a massive amount of new data, but it has also introduced challenges, as the data are neither standardized nor of even quality, making analysis and interpretation difficult. In addition, tools for easily sharing, storing, validating, analyzing or interpreting data were previously unavailable.

The AQDC seeks to accelerate solutions to air pollution by standardizing and sharing air quality data and connecting air quality researchers and data providers and users to sensor manufacturers.

The AQDC is an open-access, open-source data platform that allows people to share and use FAIR data from low- and medium-cost air quality sensors while maintaining necessary data privacy and security. In addition to centralized storage, the AQDC provides the infrastructure to analyze and visualize neighborhood-level air quality data.

Besides the AQDC, has the ASW done anything else?

Yes, the ASW has developed Date and Timestamp Guidelines and standardized terms for use by the broader air quality community. In the future, the ASW will also be looking into the data standards space.

What are the features of AQDC?

AQDC has a variety of features, including: cloud storage, cloud computing, standardized input data layer (SIDL), rules engine, reject data store, AQ data store, data visualization, web interface, and application programming interface (API).

Who is funding this project?

Funding for this project was generously provided by donors to EDF. EDF partnered with Google Earth Outreach which provided in-kind technology support.

What types of data are available on the AQDC?

The AQDC currently has data on black carbon (BC), particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), ultrafine particles (UFP), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), NOx, methane (CH4), and ozone (O3), as well as associated GIS and meteorological data (temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed and direction).

How did you choose these pollutants?

Particulate matter, NOx, SOx, and ozone are criteria pollutants, and black carbon is known to harm human health and the environment1. In addition, sensors to measure these pollutants are sufficiently developed, and have been available for long enough, that there are large amounts of existing data for inclusion on an open access platform.

What pollutants will be added next?

In the future, we plan to add organic carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) data to the AQDC. We will also explore whether regulatory grade data can be integrated.

What other updates are coming soon?

We value users' feedback on how to improve the AQDC's features and functionality and will be regularly assessing suggested new features from the GitHub list. We also conduct a regular review of the platform.