Smart city refers to the term as placing different sensors around the city in order collect data that can later be used to manage resources efficiently. Ultimately the goal is to allow the city to create a clean and sustainable environment for everyday citizens. Air quality is one of the hottest topics talked about in the smart city community. According to BBC news, air pollution on a yearly basis causes more than 5.5 million deaths. It also states the culprit is the emission of small fine particles (PM 2.5) that are released from power plants, factories, automobiles, etc. that have an adverse effect on people’s health. Studies have shown that these fine particles are linked to trigger or worsen chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis, heart and lung diseases, and other respiratory problems. Keeping this problem in mind, SensorUp has created a smart cities project by deploying sensors, that measure PM 2.5 in various cities across Canada.

Many companies have been trying to install traditional air monitoring solutions, but they are very expensive to setup and maintain. Thanks to the financial support of Natural Resources Canada GeoConnections[1], SensorUp is able to create an affordable, low maintenance sensor that measure humidity, temperature, and PM 2.5. Citizens place these sensors in their backyard, where they connect it to power and wifi. The sensor pushes data to SensorThings server every 5 minutes and because it is placed inside a weather-proof radiation shield, the temperature and humidity observations are more accurate. These sensors have been deployed in Calgary, St. Albert, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Yukon’s Kluane Lake,and Kamloops. If your interested, checkout our Smart Canada map.

The SensorThings API is an open standard for IoT devices and it is the first OGC standard compliant API. The API provides an open and unified way to interconnect sensors, data, and applications over the internet. Since it is an open standard, there is no fear of vendor lock-in, which is one of the many reasons so many cities are adopting the SensorUp’s smart cities project. SensorUp’s aim in this project is to keep citizens informed about their air. In conclusion, citizens can make informed decisions based on this information which can ultimately affect not only their health but as well as their families.

[1]Financial support provided by GeoConnections, a national collaborative initiative led by Natural Resources Canada. GeoConnections supports the integration and use of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), an on-line resource that improves the sharing, access and use of open geospatial information.