News

Monitor air quality along the Midpeninsula in real time

Interactive map shows pollution levels crowdsourced from neighbors' sensors

Residents can track the air quality in their neighborhoods in real time through the PurpleAir interactive, crowdsourced map that uses information from private sensors throughout the region to measure dust, smoke and other particulate matter. Screenshot from PurpleAir.com.

As multiple wildfires continue to burn around the Bay Area, spreading smoke across the region, the air quality along the Midpeninsula has ranged from moderate to unhealthy in most neighborhoods since Aug. 18. Due to the elevated levels of smoke, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Saturday expanded its latest Spare the Air alert through at least Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Residents can track the air quality near their homes in real time through the PurpleAir interactive map that crowdsources information from neighbors' private sensors to measure dust, smoke and other particulate matter. Every icon on the map represents a PurpleAir sensor installed and maintained by members of the community. While readings from these sensors currently can't be used for official pollution statistics, they provide a general idea of the particulate readings in the area.

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Monitor air quality along the Midpeninsula in real time

Interactive map shows pollution levels crowdsourced from neighbors' sensors

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Aug 23, 2020, 2:19 pm

As multiple wildfires continue to burn around the Bay Area, spreading smoke across the region, the air quality along the Midpeninsula has ranged from moderate to unhealthy in most neighborhoods since Aug. 18. Due to the elevated levels of smoke, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Saturday expanded its latest Spare the Air alert through at least Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Residents can track the air quality near their homes in real time through the PurpleAir interactive map that crowdsources information from neighbors' private sensors to measure dust, smoke and other particulate matter. Every icon on the map represents a PurpleAir sensor installed and maintained by members of the community. While readings from these sensors currently can't be used for official pollution statistics, they provide a general idea of the particulate readings in the area.

Comments

Eva_PA
Registered user
Ventura
on Aug 24, 2020 at 10:21 am
Eva_PA, Ventura
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 10:21 am

Thanks for publicizing this. The EPA AirNow monitor for Palo Alto is located in Redwood City and only updates every couple of hours. PurpleAir provides real-time updates about what the actual air quality is in our neighborhoods.


Clara Drivers
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:18 am
Clara Drivers, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

PurpleAir is great. Just make sure you filter out the indoor monitors from the outdoor monitors when viewing their map. The indoor monitors have a black circle outline, and the outdoor monitors do not. Click on "Inside Sensors" in the key to hide those so you are only seeing the outdoor ones.


Andrea J
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2020 at 4:37 pm
Andrea J, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 4:37 pm

One of my neighbors on Nextdoor posted the following about PurpleAir readings:
"It turns out that the PurpleAir sensors, which are a fraction of the cost of EPA regulatory-grade sensors, are systematically higher than EPA data, by up to a factor of 2! On the PurpleAir map, there is an option to adjust the readings based on calibration against regulatory readings. To do this, in the lower left corner of the PurpleAir map, under the word "Conversion" there's a pull-down menu. You can select "LRAPA" conversion (developed by an Oregon agency) which I think is more appropriate than the second option (Utah agency, based on winter data). More details at: Web Link


Julia
Registered user
another community
on Sep 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Julia, another community
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Great article, PurpleAir is an awesome resource. Here is another air quality resource for the Bay Area that incorporates Purpleair data into an hourly "nowcast" air quality model if anyone is interested in poking around: Web Link


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