Encouraging Air Quality Data Collection and Education


Featured image for the project, Encouraging Air Quality Data Collection and Education


The project team will create a user friendly site where individuals can post and learn about air quality data from various monitoring devices: Air Quality InQuiry (AQ-IQ). The site would be customized to support data produced by Hannigan lab Pods, but will be designed to accept data from other tools as well. Ultimately, the goal is to have better world wide air quality data, useful on a local scale. Through the collection of such data, our team believes researchers and concerned citizens alike can make more effective decisions and recommendations


For more information, visit:



Open-source site for design of Pods, includes all information needed to construct device.



Intended as a site for managing citizen science and outreach projects, more information about our education and outreach work in rural Colorado is available there.



Main site for the Hannigan research lab.



In today’s rapidly changing world, understanding the impacts of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and public health is critical to decision making. Traditionally, studying the source and impacts of pollutants required expensive and complex air quality monitoring devices. Extensive and widespread indoor air quality studies have been difficult due to the resource demands of the specialized equipment involved.


Recently however, the Hannigan lab at the University of Colorado Boulder has been researching and developing low-cost air quality monitoring devices called “Pods.” These Pods are small, lightweight, and easily deployable to almost any location around the world. With Pods, researchers and citizens alike can get key information on air quality and use it to study the impact of indoor air quality on human health. Additionally, data taken from Pods can supplement other air quality source data to provide better temporal and spatial resolution. As local governments and companies seek ways to reduce environmental impacts, this data can help drive effective policy reforms. The outcomes of new policies can be monitored over time and be replicated if they prove successful.
The data produced by these Pods and the other low-cost monitoring tools can be powerful contributors to improved understanding of the impacts of energy systems, hands-on STEM education, and regulatory policy making and evaluation. But first, the data collected must be aggregated, sorted, and available for the use of researchers and citizens alike. Currently, there are not any databases or sites dedicated to the aggregation of air quality data from citizen or community sources.


Michael Hannigan – Associate Professor, Environmental Engineering Program, University of Colorado Boulder

Collaborating Organization(s)

The Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are collaborating to use cloud-computing and Earth and space science to advance solutions to community challenges related to natural resources, climate change and natural hazards. After an open call for projects, four winners were chosen whose projects exemplify this goal. Each prototype is being moved to the AWS platform where they will be made publicly available for other communities to use and expand upon. Read more.


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