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4 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 177049 20-Jul-2015 13:59
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Hi all,

I'm an air quality scientist at NIWA and we're about to launch a pilot project in Rangiora about perceptions of winter air pollution.
The backstory is long and I can go into that if people want to know but at this stage I'm just looking in the geeksphere for people in Rangiora who are technologically minded and interested in the air quality in their neighbourhood.

We're preparing a "registration" page that we hope will be live next week but I wanted to check if there were potential subjects hanging around here.

So, shout if you live/work in Rangiora and want to help your local air quality scientist during this winter.

/El Gus

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Uber Geek

  # 1347804 20-Jul-2015 15:42
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PM me some more info. Thanks

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  # 1347811 20-Jul-2015 15:56
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Are you solely focus in Rangiora area or could it be extended to Christchurch suburbs too?

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  # 1347820 20-Jul-2015 16:28
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Sent a link to this thread to one of my mates who lives in Rangiora and is technically minded, he does have a GZ account even if he never uses it :-)

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  # 1347942 20-Jul-2015 19:10
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I am in rangiora I am Lias's mate I could help out

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  # 1347946 20-Jul-2015 19:16
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Im auckland tho...prob the worst air quality here :/

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Wannabe Geek

  # 1348102 20-Jul-2015 23:54
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Thanks for the responses!

First, this pilot study is focused only on Rangiora ... Nothing against Christchurch, Auckland or any other town but we have to start somewhere,

A little bit of background ...
Traditional air quality management is largely top-down with us scientists telling regulators what the effects of certain measures will (probably) be. With a more connected society, scientists have started to ask how to get the bottom-up part of the problem started.

This has only been possible because of the arrival of low-cost air quality sensors that enable us to deploy more than one unit per town and the fact that most of urban people are "on-line". BUT we don't know what kind of information is most useful to people, how to present it and what information to get from individuals so we're working on this pilot project where we'll start with what we know and use fairly traditional "participation" mechanisms with the goal to explore what works, what doesn't, what can be improved and where do new technologies might help that communication.

Maybe some of you remember a couple of years ago when we presented PACMAN (I can't put links but if you google "PACMAN NIWA" you'll get to our page on that) and said that we'll be looking for volunteers to host them "at some point" ... well, this is that point and we're starting with Rangiora.

I'm happy to answer any question here or via PM

/El Gus

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Master Geek

  # 1348209 21-Jul-2015 10:02
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I just moved from Rangiora to Christchurch a few weeks ago but still have three family members out there in different parts of town.
I do most of their tech related stuff and visit often.

What are the requirements of your gear? Broadband, WiFi etc?

Have you thought about talking to Rangiora High School. I'm sure if you talked to one of the Science teachers I'm sure they could tee up plenty of willing students.   



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Master Geek


  # 1348210 21-Jul-2015 10:03
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I'm interested in helping. Some parts of town very much need to clean up their act, and having more data & analysis to feed to ECAN has got to be a good thing.

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  # 1348236 21-Jul-2015 10:25
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The only sensor I need is my nose....

As soon as winter arrives, there is a pall of wood smoke lying over the towns and villages of the Wairarapa that makes me reach for my inhaler at once!

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Wannabe Geek

  # 1348357 21-Jul-2015 13:50
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I'm glad about the positive responses so far!

To get involved you'd need to register (through a survey that will be launched early next week) where we'll ask questions about where you are and what your house "looks like" in terms of insulation and heating source. From then there are 2 ways how to get involved. The first is to only answer a short daily survey (are you burning wood tonight?, do you smell woodsmoke inside your home?, how would you rate the quality of the outdoor air tonight?). The second one is, on top of the survey, to host some kit. In the second case, a technician would visit you to set up the gear,  retrieve the data every week (or teach you how to extract it and upload it) and then remove the kit.

The requirements from the instruments are relatively simple:
PACMAN: mains powered (actually 9VDC but it comes with a power adapter) . It likes to be where there are people and woodburners. It has gas sensors that get reasonably hot, it has sharp corners. It has an IR motion sensor so the ideal location is on a shelf with >5cm clearance above it (The unit is 9cm tall and 10cm wide/deep) facing where people tend to be/pass through. It's relatively low maintenance as it either works or it doesn't. If it works, a very hidden LED will flash once a second to signal that it recorded data. 
More info about PACMAN:

iButton: Temperature sensor. Kind of like a very fat coin battery that gets taped to the woodburner stack. (google IBUTTON for an idea of what they look like)

Thermocouple: 2 parts. The thermocouple that gets attached to the stack AND the datalogger that's wired to the thermocouple. The logger is about the size of 2 or 3 9V batteries side by side and the cable to the thermocouple is about 1.5m (These come from BRANZ and are old)

About using the schools ... we are waiting for a response from the High School (school holidays got in the way last weeks).

We're starting to build our list of "subjects" and will be sending a link to the registration form early next week.


/El Gus

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Wannabe Geek

  # 1355970 31-Jul-2015 12:42
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Hi all,

All the prep work is now done and this project is starting now (yay!)

If you're interested in participating ... go to this address (I can't put links so you'll have to copy the address to your browser)

Thank you for your help!

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