Knitting to necklaces
After our recent data post, we got some great feedback from members of our community for ideas to add to the visualisations. We were hoping to showcase some of these but due to unexpected IT problems you'll have to wait until next week! Here are some of the things we’re working on.
Data from reference monitors: the data from the Breathe London nodes is accurate, local and frequent, but it only goes back to the start of the project. There are fewer reference monitors (large, static monitors used to report to central government), but they offer more historical data. We’re working on incorporating this trend data into our dashboards.
Daily exceedances each month: the visualisations show the days where daily averages exceeded the WHO thresholds, but it would be great to see how many times each month this happened. Is the number going up or down? However, as the maximum number of daily exceedances per month is 31, any change is potentially a statistically small number and so may not be significant. We might also need to consider the seasonality of the data. We’re working out how best to present this.
Accessibility to a broader range of users: the graphs are quite visual but they are still graphs. For those not used to studying graphs, they can be a barrier to understanding the data. Communicating air quality data to as many people as possible and - crucially - knowing what to do with the data should be our priority. An analogy is the weather forecast: the Met Office produces huge amounts of geospatial data (air pressure, wind speed, temperature, precipitation, etc), which is distilled into a concise summary for your location. You might check the weather forecast before leaving home in the morning to see whether you need to pack an umbrella or a sun hat. Both the weather conditions and the actions that need to be taken are easy to understand.
If you have any ideas about how to bring data to life and would like to collaborate please get in touch!
Bonfire of the humanities
So if we can’t get you new online data, we thought we’d return to the real world! This is an amazing project that our friend Stephanie Posavec undertook to make air quality data feel real. She and her collaborator Miriam Quick turned data into wearable objects, including a necklace and glasses. It features in an exhibition at Bletchley Park. Like the knitting that we featured before, we thought this was a great way to get people talking about data, and really feeling and seeing what it means to have days of high pollution.
And in the real underground world, Louise noticed this week lots of notices on the tube about how Londoners can get air quality data for their local area. It’s promoting the work of our Breathe London experts at Imperial College through this website. Would you use this to find out more? What might make you more likely to use it? We believe people will feel empowered to do something about air quality the more they know about it, so it would be great to hear your thoughts!
No node news
We really wanted to get our node up and running for Clean Air Day but we are still having difficulties getting agreement about where it can be installed at Brixton Rec. We’ll keep you informed!
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