A study involving Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been named among the best of 2017 in a new ranking from Environmental Science & Technology, one of the leading journals in its field. "High-Resolution Air Pollution Mapping with Google Street View Cars: Exploiting Big Data," was the top environmental technology paper in ES&T's roundup, which also named top papers in three other categories.
Joshua Apte, formerly Berkeley Lab's first ITRI-Rosenfeld Fellow and now a professor at University of Texas at Austin, led the study. Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division Director Tom Kirchstetter and former staff scientist Melissa Lunden, now Chief Scientist at Aclima, are co-authors of the research, which was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and included other researchers from the U.S., Canada and Netherlands.
Aiming to address gaps in air quality data, the researchers equipped roving Google Street View vehicles with a fast-response pollution measurement platform across a 30-square-kilometer (11.5-square-mile) area of Oakland, California. The technique proved capable of capturing urban air pollution patterns with a spatial precision far greater than what is possible through conventional fixed-site monitoring.
"We are grateful to these exceptional researchers and the thousands of other authors whose efforts have given us the tools to navigate the environmental challenges facing the modern world," wrote David Sedlak, ES&T's editor in chief, noting that the journal posts approximately five new papers a day.