March 20th, 2013 by Joshua S Hill
Monitoring our health is becoming easier and easier as the days go by and the smart-phone apps multiply. Some are probably to our detriment, convincing us we’ve all of a sudden contracted lupus, but there are those that are genuinely beneficial.
One such might be ‘OzoneMap‘ which has recently been released to “Houstonians” and is available on your iOS or Android device.
OzoneMap delivers real-time air quality reports to residents in Houston, thanks to a partnership between the University of Houston, Air Alliance Houston, and the American Lung Association.
Recipient of part of the $450,000 grant from Houston Endowment gifted for clean air initiatives, and builds on the partnership’s previous project HoustonCleanAirNetwork.com, a website delivering real-time ozone updates. Computer science students from the University of Houston — under the supervision of Ioannis Pavlidis — developed OzoneMap to allow users easier access to the site’s information.
“The app allows users to see whether ozone has reached dangerous levels in their respective neighborhoods, or if the clouds have already passed,” said Dan Price, professor in UH’s Honors College and philosophy department. “It will be particularly helpful for parents or educators who are concerned with children’s health and for those with ozone sensitivity.”
OzoneMap will be showcased during a Houston Ozone Action Day event coming up on March 22, where Price and Barry Lefer, associate chair UH’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will be in attendance.
“OzoneMap” features a map of the greater Houston area. Colored clouds illustrate ozone levels in different parts of the city. Conditions range from good (white) to hazardous (purple). The app’s users can select from three different maps – standard, satellite or hybrid – and can access information on the health effects of ozone.
“The purpose of this app is to better serve the public health needs of Houstonians,” Price said. “An app is a convenient platform for this kind of tool. Almost everyone has mobile phones or tablets, so it’s easy to find out whether an ozone cloud is forming in your community or perhaps another part of town where you might be headed.”
Similar work has been done by the University of California San Diego, who last year “built a small fleet of portable pollution sensors that they sent out into the area during a field test — the sensors allow users to monitor air quality in real-time and view the results on their smart phone.”
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