OScH - Environmental Sensing and Community Science

Dear community members,

I am applying for funds for a project to make three workshops to empower members of the UT community in making environmental sensors for Indoor Air Quality (can be used outdoors too though) to then be used in community science initiatives (also included in the project). If any of you have recommendations about good resources available, please tell me. Any help will be appreciated.




The Air Quality Egg guys have been at this for quite some time. They’re a small group, you could reach out directly to the owners and have a discussion with them. I’m guessing they’ll know the in’s and out’s, what works and what doesn’t. Also, Public Lab is very active in the air sensor space, but mostly outdoor versions for specific applications… however, I’d suggest checking out their research notes for content. @gretchen would be a good one to talk to I’d think.

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Hi @gbathree and @juanpedro.maestre,
Public Lab does have resources available on https://publiclab.org for things like building and operating various sensors, some pros and cons of different air quality sensors, some basic study design principles, and some community engagement and facilitation techniques. Try searching some tags like air-quality, air-quality-sensors, and study-design. I’m also happy to talk further (and we’ve already chatted via email, JP!).

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Hola JP
We are working on outdoors air quality since a few years now. In this thread you can find some resources

We are also starting to works with @jarancio that recently started a similar project in Buenos Aires Open HW educational resources *for teachers*
We can have a chat para hablar un poco mejor if you like

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Hi JM as Nano said we’re working on a prototype that measures both PM10 & PM2.5, you can find out more about the project at https://github.com/rlyehlab/eter

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Our first steps in measuring Air Quality. https://thingspeak.com/channels/371428


Hi all,
maybe this is interesting too?


Here is one that was added to Kitspace recently.


Thanks yall! I am checking out those resources. Will follow up as it comes. Thanks again <3


For visualization Air Quality data of my little town http://chem-bio.com.ua/airq.html we use leafletjs + thingspeak.
Maybe it’s not the best way but is simple.
Does somebody have another simple solution?

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Hi @jarancio @juanpedro.maestre @gbathree @nanocastro and everybody. We also want to start the project “open air quality monitor” with involvement of people of my town to the realization it.
Now we have the prototype on base “Teensy” or “NodeMCU” with sensors Plantower PMS3003, BME280, CO2, O2 sensors. In future will have added SO2, NO2, CO sensors.
For data visualization we use leafletjs + thingspeak ( see previous post).

Now, what the best way for the involvement of people?

  1. Search funds for a project and create few points for monitoring (monitoring posts)
  2. Writing the instruction and make the workshops to making environmental sensors
  3. Or…

Any ideas?

Hi @Andriy
I’m not sure what the best way… I think that if you look for engagement, workshops to make monitors will work (here you can find a few more references on that kind of approach 1, 2).

I’have been looking at your project just now and it look’s really cool. About your project:

  • I did’n knew the BME280, looks ok and Plantower data looks ok also. Are you planning on any kind of calibration?
  • Wich SO2, NO2 and CO are you planning to use? We are using metal oxide sensors and they are giving us much work for calibration (here is the still messy repo with the data https://github.com/GustavoU/Repo_maca).
  • For PM we were using Shinyei but we changed and now we are using SDS011 and Plantower 7003. We don’t have any reference data to calibrate yet but both show similar trends but with an offset (plantower readings are a little bit higher)
  • We need to change from bluetooth to WiFi. I think we are going to give a better look at your approach

Hi @nanocastro. Thank you for the answer.
Qualified and encouraging article on the quality of inexpensive PM sensors https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026974911632718X

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Just FYI - BME 680 is replace the 280, and it includes a general purpose VOC sensor.

Thank you @gbathree.
My attention is attracted to the sensor “Grove – Multichannel Gas” (https://www.seeedstudio.com/Grove-Multichannel-Gas-Sensor-p-2502.html) because of BME680 give overall VOC content, but it cannot differentiate gasses or alcohols

Wow - that’s cool. Do you have any direct experience in calibration, or is there reference material for efficacy? I’m wondering because I’ve seen (especially in air quality) a lot of cheap sensors that once tested show that they do not work well in the real world.

Not claiming this doesn’t, but wondering what work has been done on it. If it works, I’d definitely be a convert.

Hi Andriy

In our case, we decided to work with a concrete community and understand which could be the motivation for them, but with them. We had a contact with a community organisation and started working from there, meeting with them periodically. Their motivation came from the possibility of producing data and ‘legitimate’ in scientific language a problem that is obvious for them on a daily basis, but has no legal legitimacy yet.

If you ask me (this is 100% my opinion, from my experience):

Is a bit difficult for engaging people. I always prefer a bottom-up approach. With funds and pre-definition of a monitoring network you can achieve things in the short term but it’s difficult to keep them motivated in the long run.

Workshops to build monitors are a better idea, I think. But there’s also something important… When we thought about ETER, something that was very useful was to think about who would use it, where, why. Just to make sure we were not trying to develop the monitor only because we could, creating workshops out of the blue

So I’d suggest:

  1. Find a community nearby who may be in need of AQ monitoring (there are lots, unfortunately). Engage with them, try to understand which would be their motivation and start working from there, organising workshops to build the monitors.

Of course this is a far more difficult approach and takes more time (and different skills). But I also think it’s more effective and avoids the typical citizen science project bias where people design projects than afterwards are not implemented or sustained through time.

Engaging with communities through existant organisations was very useful for us. It’s easier to work with a previously organised community than individuals. Also, there are plenty of people in this forum that can help in that aspect :slight_smile:

Sorry for the long post, hope it was of some use!

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Yes, inexpensive sensors don’t stability in the work.
But I will try the calibration on NO2.
My way, it is cumulation NO2 using Cu+4HNO3 —> Cu(NO3)2 + 2NO2 + 2H2O. Different weight (mg) of Cu - different ppm of NO2 in volume.
I do not know if it will work but I will try.

I’m also looking into this at the moment. The PM sensor choice (SDS011) of Luftdaten.info seems pretty reasonable to me. This community project was developed in a great test environment with lots of smog sponsored by the german car lobby in Stuttgart… Speaking of testing, operation of these sensors in closed rooms next to a 3D printer should be interesting.
Did anyone try that?

Nice comparative measurements of SDS011 (17 USD on Aliepxress) with a much more expensive reference instrument (Grimm 1.108) and the same sensor that Safecast is using (Alphasense OPC-N2, 400-500? USD) can be found here: http://www.opengeiger.de/Feinstaub/CalibDocu.pdf
A few more interesting articles in english are linked at the bottom of http://www.opengeiger.de/Feinstaub/feinstaub.html


HI all
I just found this project, looks very interesting http://www.hackair.eu/
It has also the instructions to build an open source monitor http://www.hackair.eu/hackair-home/ very similar to Luftdaten.info