'OzoneMap' app delivering real-time air quality reports

Mar 19, 2013
"OzoneMap" is an app for Apple and Android products that delivers real-time ozone reports for the city of Houston. Credit: Courtesy of the University of Houston

Several health risks are attributed to ozone exposure. These include aggravated asthma, coughing, inflamed breathing passages and increased vulnerability to respiratory infections.

Now, Houstonians have a new tool to help determine air quality in their communities and throughout the greater metropolitan area. "OzoneMap" is a free smart phone and tablet (for both Apple and Android products) that delivers real-time air quality reports.

OzoneMapThe app is made possible through a partnership between the University of Houston, Air Alliance Houston and the American Lung Association. It is among the clean air initiatives sponsored by a three-year $450,000 grant from Houston Endowment and builds on the partnership's previous project HoustonCleanAirNetwork.com, a website delivering real-time updates. UH computer science students under the supervision of professor Ioannis Pavlidis developed "OzoneMap" to make that site's information available on a .

"OzoneMap" will be showcased during a Houston Ozone Action Day event at 12:30 p.m., March 22 at Spring Branch Community Health Center (1615 Hillendahl, Ste. 100). Representatives from the partnering institutions will be in attendance including Dan Price, professor in UH's Honors College and philosophy department, and Barry Lefer, associate chair UH's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Members of the community are invited to learn more about "OzoneMap."

"The app allows users to see whether ozone has reached dangerous levels in their respective neighborhoods, or if the clouds have already passed," Price said. "It will be particularly helpful for parents or educators who are concerned with children's health and for those with ozone sensitivity."

"OzoneMap" features a map of the greater Houston area. Colored clouds illustrate 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."

Both the site and app will prove helpful when planning outdoor activities, Price said. Individuals with respiratory conditions can access ozone reports to avoid exposure to ground-level ozone. Also, parents, teachers or coaches can determine whether conditions are appropriate for recess or sporting events.

"There has been research that suggests that heart attacks are more likely during days with high ozone and that ozone is a trigger for asthma," Price said.

Houston is particularly ripe for ozone considering the number of vehicles, chemical plants and oil refineries that generate noxious emissions," Lefer added.

"There are 30 – 40 days each year in which dangerous levels of ozone are somewhere in the Houston area," Lefer said. "There are even more days in which the city is under an alert. Residents, however, become desensitized to these facts. This app helps people become more informed about their environment and will allow them to make smart, healthy decisions before venturing outdoors."

OzoneMap is now available for Android devices through Google Play and for Apple products through the Apple App Store.

Explore further: Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EPA proposes new ozone standards

Jun 21, 2007

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal Thursday to strengthen the nation's air quality standard for ground-level ozone.

Climate change increases the risk of ozone damage to plants

Jun 30, 2011

Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant that harms humans and plants. Both climate and weather play a major role in ozone damage to plants. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now shown that climate change ...

Air quality in an app

Mar 11, 2013

Thanks to sensors installed on trams that send data live to mobile phones, people can check air pollution levels around the city with just one click and in real time. This new app developed by EPFL researchers was recently ...

Recommended for you

Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

11 hours ago

New Zealand's pastoral landscapes are some of the loveliest in the world, but they also contain a hidden threat. Many of the country's pasture soils have become enriched in cadmium. Grasses take up this toxic heavy metal, ...

Oil drilling possible 'trigger' for deadly Italy quakes

15 hours ago

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Tuesday suspended new drilling as it published a report that warned that hydrocarbon exploitation may have acted as a "trigger" in twin earthquakes that killed 26 people in ...

Snow is largely a no-show for Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

15 hours ago

On March 1, 65 mushers and their teams of dogs left Anchorage, Alaska, on a quest to win the Iditarod—a race covering 1,000 miles of mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, tundra and coastline. According ...

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

16 hours ago

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Study shows less snowpack will harm ecosystem

16 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new study by CAS Professor of Biology Pamela Templer shows that milder winters can have a negative impact both on trees and on the water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems, far into the warm growing season.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...