Putting Air Quality Data to Work – Opportunities and Challenges of Fine-Grained Spatial and Temporal Air Quality Information


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In the 9th century A.D. a Persian physician and polymath by the name of Ar-Razi lived in Baghdad. Today, he is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of medicine of his time. He was asked to choose the right spot for building Baghdad’s main hospital. His first step was to have pieces of fresh meat placed at various parts of the city. He chose the place where the meat remained freshest, and thus, the ambient pollution was lowest. Almost one millennium later a mining tradition included the use of canaries in coal mines to detect toxic air quality before it could harm human miners.

These examples show that the notion of air quality data-based decision making in health management, city and traffic planning is not new, rather it has been applied throughout history. What is required now more than ever before, given developments in the market and in technology, and the drive for robust, data-based decision-making, is a clear tie-up of technology with end-user need.

In no other period in human history have technological advancements been shaping the way we do things more rapidly than today: IoT is ubiquitous. It is estimated that by 2020, more than 31 billion devices will be connected to the internet, generating trillions of bytes of data. IoT-based technologies promise to merge both digital and physical worlds by transcending spatial and temporal barriers. To use these technologies combined with information from satellites and other measurement methods for better understanding urban air quality is self-evident. However, this approach does not come without its limitations: Questions on data reliability, accuracy, rights-of-use and commercial applicability arise.

At EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Class 2H 2019* (Birmingham, 14th November) I’ll be discussing the opportunities and challenges of combining low-cost sensors with earth observations in predicting comprehensive air quality information in urban centres. My presentation will then focus on demonstrating concrete, clear and practical applications of air quality data in everyday processes. Finally, the talk will present an outlook for future developments in this field and demonstrate ways in which collaboration could shape the future of Environmental IoT (EIOT).

About the author:

Karim is the CEO and co-founder of Hawa Dawa, a Munich-based company named one of the Top 10 Innovators in Germany and Top 35 in Europe by the MIT Technology Review. Forbes named Hawa Dawa one of the 100 most innovative start-ups in Germany in 2018. For its pioneering use of satellite data to track and analyse traffic and logistics movements the company was also honoured in 2018 by the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Masters Programme.

*Those satisfying the qualification criteria described can register here for a free delegate place!

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EMISSIONS & AIR QUALITY Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how they can deploy the latest digital technology-enabled solutions, data-driven strategies and best practices to improve urban air quality and drive down emissions and air pollution in our cities and regions.


   Birmingham, UK

Sponsored by
Eunomia Research & Consulting
Hawa Dawa
Scotscape Group
Vortex IoT

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