This Blueair AirView review details over what exactly Blueair AirView is, but also the benefits and issues it has. Blueair AirView is a tool from the air purification company Blueair. It lets you check the air quality in your area using real-time data from a local monitoring station. You can download AirView onto your computer, or use it as an app on your mobile device.
How do you use Air View?
Using AirView is really easy! Just type in your postcode and Air View generates an image of your street via Google Earth. In the top right-hand corner, an air quality number appears in a box. Clicking on the box leads to a brief description of what the number means (‘good’ ‘unhealthy’ and so on). So, for instance, for my location in North London, this morning’s air quality measured 28 and was ‘good’. It also gives the location of the monitoring station which generated the data.
Now, look at the picture of your street. Little icons depicting all the different kinds of air pollution drift across the image, like ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particles. If you click on one, you get information about the pollutant including what it is, how it is generated and how it may affect your health. If available, you will also get the data on the current level of that particular substance.
What’s good about Air View?
Blueair AirView is a novel way of combining Google Street View with air quality monitoring data. It’s interesting to be able to compare air quality in different locations like your home, workplace, school and friends’ places. With the app, you can also check air quality when you’re on the move. The pollutant icons drifting through the air do a good job of raising awareness of this invisible threat to health. The World Health Organization rates air pollution as a major health hazard, accounting for 7 million premature deaths per year. Increased awareness might prompt people to take action – both to protect themselves and to campaign for better air quality in their locality and nationwide.
What’s less good about Blue Air?
The air pollution figures are given on the United States Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index scale, which ranges from 0 to 500. However, in the United Kingdom, the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) uses the Daily Air Quality Index, which ranges from 0 to 10. Maybe Air View should be tailored to the country where it is being used?
Also, as the notes with Blueair AirView point out, Google Street View is not available in China – surely given its pollution levels, it is one of the countries most in need of this kind of resource?
Where does the data in Air View come from?
Blueair says they use the services of Green Room, Wynd, PM2.5, AirNow and the European Environmental Agency. The latter two are official government agencies (USA, Europe).
Data from my location came from Priory Park, which is part of DEFRA’s Automatic Urban & Rural Network, run by scientists at King’s College, London. It measures only the gaseous pollutants (ozone and nitrogen dioxide), so Air View did not give me any information about particulate pollution in my area. Also, Priory Park is three miles from where I live so how applicable is the data? Especially since I live on the main road and the monitoring station is located in a park. Then I checked the data for a friend in South West London and found it was reporting levels of particulate pollution there at her local station, so she was getting a more complete picture of her air quality from Air View.
So is it worthwhile?
This Blueair AirView review categorises AirView as a good resource overall. Despite this, it is important to remember that you can also easily and accurately measure the air quality in your home or place of work with an ‘AirVisual Pro Air Quality Monitor’.
About Air View. https://airview.blueair.com
The United States Environmental Protection Agency. www.airnow.gov
European Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air
Met Office Air Pollution. www.metoffice.gov.uk/guide/weather/air-quality
UK Air (DEFRA). https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk
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