Google measures air pollutants in Hamburg

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A Google car will measure air pollutants in downtown Hamburg in the coming months. The data will be collected for the Internet company’s Air View project, Hafencity University and the city, as the director of the CityScienceLab research group, Gesa Ziemer, said on Wednesday. According to the professor of cultural theory, the results could help with urban planning.

The fully electric Jaguar I-Pace is equipped with cameras and a sensor from Aclima on the roof. Nitrogen and carbon oxides, fine dust and ozone are to be measured. At the same time, the cameras take pictures of the streets. The recordings with the Street View technology are intended to support the analysis of the pollutant data and improve Google Maps.

In contrast to the measurement data, however, the images should not be published. Google will hand over the measurement results to the Hafencity University and a working group in which the transport authority, the Hamburger Hochbahn as well as the State Office for Roads, Bridges and Waters and the State Office for Geoinformation Surveying are involved, said Ziemer. The public should be able to see the data and maps on a Google page.

The internet company has already carried out similar measurements in US cities as well as in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Dublin since 2015. Hamburg is the first major German city. The project has a term of one year, it was said. “The results should help to make decisions for the city,” said the head of Google’s Hamburg office, Marianne Stroehmann. She cited the search for locations for new schools or playgrounds as an example.

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It is still unclear which streets will be driven exactly. But they would be in the inner city area north of the Elbe and around the Alster. The streets should be driven several times in order to get six different measurement data. Google bears the costs of the project. At the same time, Google also announced that the environmental zone feature in Google Maps, which was previously limited to Berlin, will now also work for Hamburg: Google’s map service will then also point out streets in the Hanseatic city where passage restrictions apply to diesel vehicles.

Environment Senator Jens Kerstan (Greens) welcomed the cooperation between the Hafencity University and Google. The calculation of the air quality from selective sensor measurements is still in its infancy. The city of Hamburg measures air pollutants with the help of twelve stationary measuring stations. “So far there has been no alternative to these legally binding measurements,” emphasized the Senator. At the moment, Hamburg complies with all legal limits, but it remains to be seen whether this is just a corona effect. In May, the Federal Administrative Court obliged the city to revise its clean air plan and possibly to impose further diesel driving bans.


(axk)

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