Visitors to the Eco Experience at the State Fair can learn about an interesting new idea to “crowdsource” air quality monitoring. The MPCA is pilot testing small, portable monitoring devices called AirBeams that measure levels of fine particles in the air. The Airbeam is a low cost air pollution sensor that measures, maps, and graphs fine particle (PM2.5) pollution in real time. The AirBeam connects to an app in any mobile android device, allowing users to explore air quality wherever they go. MPCA staff have taken Airbeams around the fair to measure pollution levels and can show visitors maps of the results.
The power of a crowd
The MPCA measures fine particles at over 20 locations across Minnesota. These regulatory monitors are designed to assess air quality on a regional basis. They’re expensive to operate, which limits our ability to monitor every neighborhood or community. When used by many people, new low-cost sensors like the AirBeam can help us better understand air quality in all the places we live work, and play. You can visit the AirCasting website to explore AirBeam results from users in Minnesota and from across the globe.
Check out the AirBeam at the EcoExperience
Want to try the AirBeam? Visit the AirBeam display in the Eco Experience at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. Through crowd-sourced maps and demonstrations, fairgoers can explore AirBeam monitoring results, shedding light on common activities that contribute to air pollution and how air quality differs over space and time