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Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2263; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17102263

Wireless Distributed Environmental Sensor Networks for Air Pollution Measurement—The Promise and the Current Reality

Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion IIT, 32000 Haifa, Israel
Alexander Arpaci (UBIMET GmbH, Vienna, Austria); Alena Bartonova (Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway); Nuría Castell-Balaguer (Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway); Tom Cole-Hunter (ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain); Franck R. Dauge (Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway); Barak, Fishbain (CEE, Technion, Haifa, Israel); Rod L. Jones (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, UK); Karen Galea (Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), Edinburgh, Scotland, UK); Milena Jovasevic-Stojanovic (VINČA Institute of Nuclear Sciences, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia); David Kocman (Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Tania Martinez-Iñiguez (ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain); Mark Nieuwenhuijsen (ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain); Johanna Robinson (Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Vlasta Svecova (Institute of Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic); Phong Thai (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia).
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 2 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Sensors: A New Class of Tools to Measure Air Quality)
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Abstract

The evaluation of the effects of air pollution on public health and human-wellbeing requires reliable data. Standard air quality monitoring stations provide accurate measurements of airborne pollutant levels, but, due to their sparse distribution, they cannot capture accurately the spatial variability of air pollutant concentrations within cities. Dedicated in-depth field campaigns have dense spatial coverage of the measurements but are held for relatively short time periods. Hence, their representativeness is limited. Moreover, the oftentimes integrated measurements represent time-averaged records. Recent advances in communication and sensor technologies enable the deployment of dense grids of Wireless Distributed Environmental Sensor Networks for air quality monitoring, yet their capability to capture urban-scale spatiotemporal pollutant patterns has not been thoroughly examined to date. Here, we summarize our studies on the practicalities of using data streams from sensor nodes for air quality measurement and the required methods to tune the results to different stakeholders and applications. We summarize the results from eight cities across Europe, five sensor technologies-three stationary (with one tested also while moving) and two personal sensor platforms, and eight ambient pollutants. Overall, few sensors showed an exceptional and consistent performance, which can shed light on the fine spatiotemporal urban variability of pollutant concentrations. Stationary sensor nodes were more reliable than personal nodes. In general, the sensor measurements tend to suffer from the interference of various environmental factors and require frequent calibrations. This calls for the development of suitable field calibration procedures, and several such in situ field calibrations are presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: wireless distributed environmental sensor networks; micro sensing units; air pollution; in situ field calibration; spatiotemporal variability; multi-sensor nodes wireless distributed environmental sensor networks; micro sensing units; air pollution; in situ field calibration; spatiotemporal variability; multi-sensor nodes
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Broday, D.M.; the Citi-Sense Project Collaborators. Wireless Distributed Environmental Sensor Networks for Air Pollution Measurement—The Promise and the Current Reality. Sensors 2017, 17, 2263.

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