Leicestershire, UK, 12 August 2014 – Bluesky is helping develop a mobile mapping system to measure pollution at street level. Working with the University of Leicester, the Leicestershire based aerial mapping company is helping to fund further research into air quality in one of the UK’s largest cities. Scientists armed with specially developed air quality sensors are taking to the streets in electric vehicles in order to measure the true extent of air pollution. Information captured by these sensors will be used to inform research into the pollution caused by city centre traffic and investigations into alternative travel solutions. Bluesky is already collaborating with the University on the use of world first spectrometer mounted on an aerial survey plane and the development of a network of low cost ground based air quality sensors.
“Electric vehicles are part of the solution to urban air quality issues,” commented Dr Roland Leigh from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, “it therefore makes perfect sense to use them to collect data that will be used to monitor levels and aid research into other ways of managing this growing threat.”
James Eddy, Technical Director of Bluesky International and Industrial Associate at the University of Leicester added, “Working with the University we have already created the world’s first aircraft mounted system for generating citywide maps of nitrogen dioxide. We were therefore pleased to be able to build on this success with additional funding. The development of both mobile mapping systems and static sensors will provide additional data to aid research and remedial projects.”
To begin with two electric cars leased from local company Cenex will be fitted with specially developed sensors that can measure pollutant concentrations around the city. The cars will measure air quality during everyday work for the project team including the installation and maintenance of a static air quality monitoring network. This data will be spatially referenced for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other mapping software and will be used in conjunction with data already captured by a specialist aerial survey system developed by Bluesky and the University.
This project is part of a programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to partner graduate research expertise with growing SMEs, such as Bluesky, in the East Midlands region. Innovation through the Research Support Accelerator (IRSA) aims to accelerate the development and exploitation of novel research via a unique collaboration between businesses, academic expertise at the University of Leicester and a high quality graduate who will be given the opportunity of using a full year of research and development to enrol for a postgraduate degree.
In the World Health Organisation European Region exposure to air pollution is said to decrease the life expectancy of every person by an average of one year. While lower than other parts of the world a recent study saw this figure rise to 22 months in at least 25 European Cities. Defra (Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) estimates that air pollution reduces average life expectancy in the UK by 7-8 months, costing the UK £20bn per annum.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is part of a group of highly reactive gasses known as nitrogen oxides. NO2 forms quickly when fossil fuels are burned for example petrol or diesel in a car or natural gas in a domestic boiler or power station. There is clear evidence that high levels of NO2 are linked to adverse effects on health including increased risk of respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and even heart attacks and World Health Organisation statistics show 1.3 million deaths worldwide result from outdoor air pollution.
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including an UltraCam Eagle and an Orion M300 LiDAR system. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.
Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going 3 year update programme. By purchasing a World first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions.
Bluesky is also leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com
The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is among the most socially inclusive of Britain’s top-20 leading universities. The University of Leicester is The Times/Sunday Times 2014 University of the Year Runner-Up and the THE University of the Year 2008-9. Leicester is a three-time winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and is the only University to win seven consecutive awards from the Times Higher. Leicester is 14th out of 121 institutions by The Times/Sunday Times and the University is ranked among the top two-per cent in the world by the QS World University Rankings, Taiwan World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings. http://www2.le.ac.uk/about/facts
The Earth Observation Science group, based in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary team dedicated to research into many aspects of remote sensing, atmospheric and Earth surface science. www.leos.le.ac.uk/aq