Introducing Project Air View

A new initiative between Dublin City Council’s Smart Dublin programme and Google will see the capital’s air quality monitored street-by-street.

This is part of Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer, which helps cities reduce emissions by providing the data needed to inform smart transit programmes and increase the use of more environmentally-friendly modes of travel.

The initiative was born from a clear need for hyperlocal insights on air quality in Dublin – and other cities around the world.

How the data is captured and collected

Google’s first electric Street View car, a Jaguar I-PACE, was deployed in May 2021 and it will continue to measure air quality around Dublin throughout 2022.

In Ireland, this is the first time a Google Street View car has captured air pollution and greenhouse gas measurements, as well as its Google Maps Street View imagery.

Projects like this… allow us to make informed decisions for the benefit of our city and citizens.

The Jaguar I-PACE is a zero-tailpipe emissions vehicle and it features mobile air sensing technology made by Aclima. This can measure and analyse a range of different air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter – all of which are harmful to human health in high levels.

The car drives around the streets of Dublin from 9-5pm every weekday. Each measurement is sent to the cloud and matched with the GPS location where it was recorded.

The project’s progress so far

In collaboration with Google and scientific research partners, Aclima’s platform will be able to analyse its measurements and map street-level air pollution. The data is also available to Dublin City Council and will eventually be released to the public too.

During the launch of the initiative in 2021, Dublin City Councillor Hazel Chu said: “It is projects like this that leverage innovation and forward-thinking to allow us to make informed decisions for the benefit of our city and citizens.”

And so far, the project has gathered a lot of valuable data. In its first year, this groundbreaking tech has taken 3.4 million air quality measurements across 45,000 streets in the city.

Capturing Dublin’s Air Quality Street-by-Street

Throughout its first year of deployment, the car also parked alongside stationary air quality monitoring centres. So far, the results of the car’s monitor and the stations have corresponded. This ensures the mobile air quality sensors are correctly calibrated and providing credible, scientific data.

Researchers have already started to notice variations in air quality around the city. Martin Fitzpatrick – the Principal Environmental Health Officer at Dublin City Council – recently gave councillors an update on the project.

There is localised variation of air quality.

“We are basically looking every couple of metres along the road as the car moves,” he explained. “That tells us a lot about exposure… of population and of people. Are there particularly vulnerable population groups? Are there particularly large densities of population along certain areas that we need to be concerned about?”

He commended Project Air View, because its on-the-go approach mimics how people move around the city. This means it provides more accurate insights into the pollution Dubliners actually experience day-to-day.

And, he says, the project shows that “there is localised variation of air quality”.

What’s next for Dublin’s mobile air quality monitoring

According to Martin Fitzpatrick, Project Air View will continue to monitor the city’s air quality until late 2022 – at least. The council will also continue to perform its calibration checks.

The team involved has also started to map some of the data. However, they are still pulling the information together and figuring out how best to present it.

The overall objective of Project Air View is to make air pollution insights available to cities, government bodies, scientists, nonprofits and everyone else. And once it is quality assured, the plan is to release all this data for public use.

We’re using technology to capture this important data and make it accessible.

Over the next few months, the initiative will focus on specific parts of the city. Initial data highlighted some priority study areas, which are of interest due to varying measurements. These include locations around the Port Tunnel, Santry and Whitehall. For the rest of 2022, Google’s Street View car will perform 20 runs through these areas, as well as 10 runs on roads elsewhere in the city.

Each road segment’s annual averages will then be calculated, mapped and made public. Martin Fitzpatrick envisages this detailed data will be used to pinpoint hotspots of pollution. The council can then direct policies and resources to these areas in order to reduce pollution and exposure.

The data will provide a useful way to track the city’s emissions and climate action progress too.

Making way for a better, more sustainable city

Because of its relation to health and the environment, Google and Dublin City Council hope that access to this data will foster engagement with Dubliners. They want more people join in the conversation around air quality and make small, informed changes to take action.

Paddy Flynn, Vice President of Google Geo Operations, says: “There is a gap in terms of localised data and insights available to decision-makers. As part of this project, we’re using technology to capture this important data and make it accessible… Our ultimate goal is that they will support new actions towards a cleaner, more sustainable Dublin.”

For more information and future updates, please see Dublin City Air and Noise.

Last Updated: 14th August 2022

You might also like...

blue and white graphic depicting dublin city skyline


Making Dublin City Climate Resilient

Climate action in Dublin city When we look back at Dublin’s storied history, it’s clear that we are merely part of a long line of caretakers. We’re here to ensure future generations get to enjoy all that Dublin has to offer – from the city’s rich natural habitats in the Dublin Bay Biosphere to the Phoenix Park and its rivers and canals. However, we know that what we once thought was an infinite resource is under threat and we can no longer

A pair of robots


Starting the Responsible Innovation Summit

Bringing responsible innovation to Dublin Innovation is what has brought the human race as far as it has come. Because of innovation, we have tackled disease; we have navigated the globe by land, sea and air; we have sent men to the moon. And, soon, we will have driverless cars. What is responsible innovation? Innovation, in many ways, defines us. However, it also has its drawbacks. There is an innate impulse to push things as far as they can go. At times we wonder why innovation has taken us in a peculiar direction. What is the need for this device? Why has this phenomenon taken over? This is when innovation becomes irresponsible. That innate drive to push


Profit with Purpose: Three Dublin Social Enterprises

The importance of sustainable and social enterprises Making your startup or existing business sustainable or ethical is a smart, future-proof option. Customers are now much more informed and aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. A more sustainable product or service will create a positive brand image that will impact the bottom line of many businesses.