By Coral Bliss Taylor

July 12, 2017

Calgary, A.B. – Wildfires in British Columbia are affecting air quality indicators in Alberta quite dramatically, as some St. Albert residents recently learned. 

Last Saturday, 25 St. Albertans met at a workshop to assemble and connect their own PM 2.5, or fine particulate, sensor. Each of these citizen scientist then took their sensor home, and installed it outdoors in their neighbourhood.

Overnight, a distributed, shared, network of PM 2.5 sensors was deployed in St. Albert, with all sensors reporting to a collective map of readings at Sensors were deployed just in time to watch as the B.C. wildfires effects swept through: On Monday, readings began to climb, peaking just around noon. Residents kept their eye on the readings as they climbed in near real time, noting the spike, and commenting on social media, as news media reported the air quality effects.

The sensors measure the concentration of fine particles — PM 2.5 — in the air. As University of Calgary Professor Ke Du explains:

“PM 2.5 particles travel farther because they’re smaller: smaller particles don’t settle down as quickly, and as a result, they are retained in the air for longer… On top of that, our respiratory system has a harder time filtering out these small particles, making it more likely that they will get into our lungs and bodies.”

The St. Albert deployment is the latest in a Canada-wide program of PM 2.5 sensor deployment, initiated by SensorUp in Calgary. Last October, 50 Calgarians assembled sensors and placed them throughout the city. Natural Resources Canada is now sponsoring the expansion of the program to 500 more sensors throughout Canada. The sensors are small and lightweight, and connect to regular Wi-Fi, making them easy to deploy. They are also low cost and versatile, allowing for mass, non-expert deployment, resulting in increased geographic coverage.

SensorUp is calling for partners in municipalities across Canada who want to be involved in the program. For partnership inquiries, and for more information, go to

About SensorUp

SensorUp provides a cross-domain data exchange platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), based on international, open, geospatial standards. SensorUp’s platform is the world’s first and most complete, ready-to-use, compliant implementation of the OGC SensorThings API standard. SensorUp’s staff are experts in geospatial IoT data management. Dr. Steve Liang, founder and CEO of SensorUp, is the editor of the OGC SensorThings API standard specification and a globally recognized IoT expert. Learn more at and from @SensorUp on Twitter.


To learn more, please contact

Coral Bliss Taylor

SensorUp Inc.

145, 3553 31 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2L 2K7



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