The world's first personalised air quality monitoring system is using federated data to help Tasmanians breathe easier. Suffers are adapting their behaviour and managing their daily activities, as well as improving public health outcomes.
Environmental conditions such as air quality and weather can have a major impact on our health.
The AirRater smartphone app was created to assist people suffering from hay fever, allergies, asthma and other lung diseases like chronic bronchitis.
The AirRater app provides a globally unique integration of air pollution, meteorological and allergen data with health symptom reporting. We integrate real-time data from a high resolution pollution, meteorological, and pollen monitoring network across Tasmania into the platform and interpolate the data so that AirRater users can quickly understand current environmental conditions.
Since October 2015, more than 1000 Tasmanians have signed up to use the app that is enabling users to adapt their behaviour and manage daily activities to improve their quality of life.
Initial feedback advises the app has helped users better manage medication, change their exercise pattern and influence their participation in activities and events during environmental conditions that could be harmful to their health.
This Project is a strong demonstration of how the federation of data can be used to improve individual and public health outcomes and create real impact within the community.
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The AirRater project involves two concurrent streams. Equipment has been installed around Tasmania to capture information on temperature and air pollution (in the form of pollen, smoke and some gasses).
This information is gathered in near real-time and fed back to a central database. At the same time, we encourage Tasmanians to use the free Sense-T AirRater smartphone app to report their daily symptoms of asthma, allergies and hay fever.
Once users have entered this information, they are given a reading of the current levels of potential triggers in their immediate area. Over time, we are able to generate an individualised report showing each user how environmental conditions have impacted their symptoms, and then provide an alert when these conditions exist or are forecast. This allows users to manage their daily activities and improve their quality of life.
The sensor network also supports community-wide air pollution health advisories, heatwave forecasting and alerts, and fire weather mapping to assist firefighters, landowners and government.
The team consists of leading researchers in the fields of environmental health, with specialities in air pollution, pollen, smoke and heat. The Project is a collaboration between Sense-T, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, UTAS School of Biological Sciences, the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency, CSIRO, ANU and the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.
A key ingredient in the success of the project will be the involvement of all Tasmanians who have asthma and hay fever.
Senior Research Fellow
Menzies Institute for Medical Research
University of Tasmania
Sense-T's AirRater Project is among 14 Industry Research Projects currently being undertaken. The projects have received funding of $6 million from the $13 million provided to the University of Tasmania for Sense-T by the Australian Government through the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan, with a further $5 million contributed by our research and industry partners.