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PlanetWatch to provide leading European universities with hyperlocal air quality data

PlanetWatch to provide leading European universities with hyperlocal air quality data

PlanetWatch to provide leading European universities with hyperlocal air quality data

PlanetWatch is signing agreements with the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Hamburg to provide researchers with access to PlanetWatch’s hyperlocal air quality data. Researchers will analyze both indoor and outdoor data, with a focus on those collected during last year’s dust storm in Madrid.

PlanetWatch to provide leading European universities with hyperlocal air quality data

Complutense University of Madrid’s tGIS Research Group will use data in the context of the Deep learning Anticipated Urban Mobility peaks (DARUMA) research project with the objective of developing and publishing a methodology to identify and predict behavioral change triggers in the context of disruptive events.

“The high spatio-temporal resolution of the data collected by PlanetWatch will allow us to analyze particular climate events and their impact on different urban dynamics, in a way that we could not have imagined years ago”
– Gustavo Romanillos, Complutense University of Madrid

The University of Hamburg will use the data and conduct additional online surveys to examine people’s indoor exposure during dust storms to understand how people avoid and mitigate extreme air pollution. By combining the observational air quality data with self-reported information, the main goal is to better understand people’s reactions and identify what is needed to reduce the damage caused by air pollution and to improve future protective measures.

“The community around PlanetWatch and their air quality data enable great research opportunities. By involving sensor owners through online surveys, we can better understand how people behave during extreme air pollution events. This is important when designing policy instruments and will be relevant for many policy makers”
– Björn Bos, University of Hamburg

According to Claudio Parrinello, CEO of PlanetWatch, partnering with universities is a cornerstone of PlanetWatch’s mission. “We are proud that the universities of Madrid and Hamburg have requested access to PlanetWatch datasets. Academic interest in our data validates our fast and cost-effective approach to deploy hyperlocal networks in partnership with local residents and businesses.”

These partnerships are a new chapter in the history of PlanetWatch’s academic collaborations. Previous collaborations with the University of Bologna in Italy have led to jointly authored research papers.

PlanetWatch in Madrid


PlanetWatch currently has more than 80 outdoor air quality monitoring devices installed in Madrid as well as dozens of indoor air quality sensors. Data from this very dense network will prove instrumental for the studies foreseen by the researchers.

The interactive map below shows the Airqinos (type 1 outdoor air quality sensors) in the center of Madrid as well as the governmental stations.

Previous research

PlanetWatch’s environmental team has already used the extensive network in Madrid to conduct some studies on air quality levels in the city. 

One study focused on particulate matter (PM10) peaks during last year’s dust storm. The team analyzed data from 21 different Airqinos deployed across the city. 

In the following figure, the blue band indicates the ranges of average daily values measured by PlanetWatch’s devices, which perfectly align with the values of the governmental reference stations taken as a comparison (dashed red line).

Madrid hyperlocal air quality data - PlanetWatch

The added value from PlanetWatch’s hyperlocal network can be exemplified by looking at values measured by a specific PlanetWatch device (Airqino 430). On some days, PlanetWatch’s device was able to detect highly localized pollution peaks, with PM10 values up to 20 times higher than the average from reference stations. 

We go deeper into this subject in this article.