Generating hyperlocal air quality maps in real time using mobile measurements - AirQuality

Congestion poor air quality

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to people's health in the European Union. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), in 2015 up to 96% of European citizens living in urban areas were exposed to air quality classified by the WHO as hazardous to health.

People are exposed to air pollution on a daily basis. Long-term exposure to low doses in particular poses a major threat to human health. Diseases and health risks such as strokes, lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic and acute respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma, bronchitis) are consequences of poor air quality.

Reducing air pollution can reduce the risk of developing diseases and improve the cardiovascular and respiratory health of the population in both the short and long term. To achieve this, the EU set guidelines for national emission ceilings that member states must not exceed. Although many cities in the EU comply with these guidelines, it is estimated that the average life expectancy is reduced by 8.6 months due to poor air quality.

The city of Aachen uses stationary sensors to monitor the air quality in the city

The improvement of air quality is also an important concern for the city of Aachen. The installation of two stationary measuring stations of the Ministry for the Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV) provides reference on the current particulate matter and nitrogen pollution in the city. However, these sensors are located kilometres apart and are too few in number to comprehensively cover the urban area and collect detailed representative local data.

LANUV measuring stations in Aachen

Based on real-time data on air pollution, the AirQuality project provides the foundation for cleaner air!

With the goal of obtaining representative data on air quality, FIR e.V. at RWTH Aachen University, together with the Center Smart Services and Geotab, launched the AirQuality project in September 2018. The AirQuality project addresses the need for a large and accurate data pool to improve air quality control. Equipping cars and public transport with mobile sensors allows long-term measurement of air quality in real time. Experience shows that, depending on the city, 20-30 public transport buses are sufficient to cover 70% of the urban area.

Profile Bendedikt Moser

"More data in better quality: to make long-term and sustainable decisions, cities need a comprehensive and accurate database across the entire urban area!"
- Benedikt Moser, Head of Center Smart Services

Low-cost sensors are used to record data on particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide pollution. Via a telematics module installed in the vehicle, the data obtained is sent to a platform and evaluated by software. The processed information serves as the basis for new data-driven solutions that help to improve air quality in the city of Aachen and the quality of life of its citizens. Visualizations such as heat maps can provide insights that can be used by various stakeholders, and can be used for applications such as more efficient and sustainable traffic control.

"Telematics data provides valuable real-time insights. Hyperlocal insights are easy to obtain and facilitate the development of measures for better environmental protection."
- Dirk Schlimm, Executive Vice President of Geotab

Map Air Quality Real Time

Lack of air quality affects us all. That is why we have an interest in successfully advancing the AirQuality project and continuously develop it further. We are open to new ideas and innovations and look forward to a lively exchange with various interest groups. Are you a fleet operator in Aachen or another city and can you imagine equipping your vehicles with our AirQuality sensors and collect data about the air quality? You are an expert in sensor technology and have experience in the field of optimization and data validation? You are city partner and are interested in exchanging ideas and contributing to the AirQuality project? Then get in touch with us!

Project partner

FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University

The FIR is a non-profit, cross-industry research and training institution at RWTH Aachen University in the field of business organization, information logistics and corporate IT with the aim of creating the organizational foundations for the digitally networked industrial enterprise of the future.

The institute researches, qualifies, teaches and accompanies in the areas of service management, information management, production management and business transformation. The FIR promotes research and development for the benefit of small, medium-sized and large companies and advocates the strengthening of NRW as a business location.


Geotab GmbH

Geotab securely connects vehicles to the Internet and provides advanced web-based analytics to better manage fleets. Geotab's open platform and marketplace offer hundreds of third-party solutions and enable both small and large businesses to automate operations through the integration of vehicle data with other enterprise data assets.

As an IoT hub, the Geotab solution is universally expandable with other technologies. Through its telematics device and its MyGeotab platform, Geotab helps fleet operators worldwide to improve their productivity and minimize fleet costs through smart maintenance management and fuel consumption. Furthermore, the Geotab solution can be ideally used for increasing driver through driver coaching. A special focus is placed on security and data protection: To protect the data of its customers from unauthorized access, Geotab continuously optimizes its security mechanisms and processes continuously. The company's products are sold worldwide through authorized Geotab resellers.

Center Smart Services

Center Smart Services

The Center Smart Services was founded in 2015 on the Smart Logistics Cluster on the RWTH Aachen Campus. Together with its members and customers, the Center Smart Services develops data-based services and thus taps into new business areas in the age of digital networking.

The Center Smart Services supports leading companies in the manufacturing industry with the knowledge and resources to build and successfully operate a profitable digital business. In doing so, it solves central issues for the development and management of the digital business. These include the development of a customer-centric value proposition, the optimization of pricing models and service level agreements, and the design of a comprehensive digital customer journey. The members and customers of the Center Smart Services develop profitable smart services up to eight times faster thanks to the "Smart Service Engineering" development approach.


Benedikt Moser Managing Director Center Smart Services

Benedikt Moser
Coordination, Development of Digital Business Models
Tel.: +49 241 47705-205

Profile Harald Horn

Harald Horn
Coordination, Sensor Connectivity
Phone: +49 1522 881 2828

Profile Tamás Halbrucker

Tamás Halbrucker
Sensor Development (Hardware Design and Software Code)
Tel.: +49 173 536 1270

Paul Stobbe
Data Preparation and Analysis
Tel.: +49 176 30431334

Johannes Hoh
Data Preparation and Analysis
Tel.: +49 173 676 8484

Eugen Müller
Software Development
Tel.: +49 17622003624

Alisa Friedrich
Use Case and Stakeholder Management
Phone: +49 241 47705 625

Project 19F1062A of the research association FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University was funded via the mFUND by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag.