Air pollution mapping enters a new tech era
EDF and Google revolutionize how climate-harming gas leaks are measured
Photo credit: Mathew Grimm
EDF and Google Earth Outreach are working together to explore and unlock the potential of new sensing and analytical technologies to measure key environmental data, and to make that data more widely available.
The initial project uses sensors attached to Google Street View cars to create detailed maps of places where natural gas is leaking from utility pipes under city streets. This complex challenge requires multidisciplinary skills, perspective and resources.
Our core project team includes:
- EDF. We convened, envisioned and planned the project, as part of our overall goal to reduce methane’s impact on the climate.
- Google provided vehicles mounted with air-quality sensors. Their mapping technology allows the data to be visualized in a user-friendly way.
- Colorado State University collaborated with us to analyze the data and help group leaks by environmental risk.
- Utility companies, including National Grid, shared leak data which allowed us to perform validation analyses.
We’re also working closely with natural gas utilities and their state and local regulators to turn these findings into action. This information helps gas companies prioritize where to repair leaks and upgrade pipelines, and provides a powerful advocacy tool to accelerate the process.
This project is just one in a long series of innovative EDF collaborations that help us solve problems on a greater scale.