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The AQI Guys

Bedford School – Years 7-9

Project: Monitoring the air quality at a given location

We have built an air quality monitoring station using a Raspberry Pi and widely available air quality sensor – SDS011. Long-term exposure to air pollution can increase heart diseases, respiratory illnesses and irritation to the eyes, throat and nose. So, it is important to reduce pollution levels, and the first step is to monitor it.

Our monitoring stations can be either fixed or mobile. Each station uploads its data to a central database from where we can visualise it in the form of a heat map overlaid on a map of the region we are monitoring. The application lets users view changing pollution levels across the region at various times of the day. City planners can then use the data to make informed decisions to reduce the harmful effects of pollution and provide a better environment. The monitoring station consists of two major components - the Raspberry Pi and the SDS011 sensor connected via USB. The Raspberry Pi communicates with the sensor over a serial interface, sending commands to gather data and report the results.

We use a Python program to interact with the sensor and send the data gathered to a central server. This data exchange runs over a REST interface on the server, which runs PHP and uses MariaDB to store the incoming data. We use Google Map API to visualise the data as a heat map of the region, which is viewable through a web browser. Users can also view historical data to get a clear picture of how the pollution varies throughout the day.

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