We like to see citizen science here at The MagPi – you may remember Raspberry Shake, the seismometer add-on for the Pi, which crowdsourced seismic activity. In East Asia, we hear a fair bit about issues with air quality, so we weren’t too surprised when Nai-Wen, organiser of the Taiwanese Raspberry Pi community, told us about a project using open-source software to keep track of air pollution in Taiwan.
“PM2.5 is a citizen science project. We provide instructions and open-source code to help people create and customise their own PiM25 box.” Nai‑Wen tells us via email. “When the PiM25 box is ready, air quality and GPS data can upload to the Taiwan’s PM2.5 Open Data Portal (Location Aware Sensing System, or LASS) 24/7. Everyone can see the open data from the map”
Mapping the air
The visualisation is fairly straightforward, colour-coding the results. Taipei, the capital, is fairly clean, but the west coast tends to be a little polluted. Data is updated on the fly, so these values may change depending on wind, time of day, and even time of year. “We wanted to build up an easy-to-use airbox and visualise the environment information,” Nai-Wen explains. “We hope the awareness will increase their interest in improving their air, health, life, and planet.”
Raspberry Pi in Taiwan
While it’s sometimes easy to think of the Raspberry Pi community as being largely UK based, it’s important to remember that people use it all around the world, including in Taiwan. Starting in 2013, there have been regular meet-ups every month or two, organised by Nai‑Wen: “We have workshops, hackathons, and an occasional book club event. The community also helps to organise open-source conferences, such as PyCon Taiwan or MakerConf Taiwan.”
We look forward to seeing what else comes out of the Taiwanese Pi community
This Raspberry Pi project first appeared in The MagPi #77.