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GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Airnow International: Expanding Networks and Integrating Methods for Air Quality and Health Data

Activity ID: 78


Air pollution presents substantial risk to many communities internationally.  As evidenced by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, air pollution health outcomes contribute substantially to mortality and morbidity in many regions.

This GEO priority topic will provide improved information for use in public health assessment tools, by building upon foundational work that integrates in-situ and satellite air quality measurements.  This initial work will be extended to include more air quality monitoring, related estimation and modeling protocols, optimizing both remote sensing and in-situ platforms -- including the rapidly developing small sensor market.  

This community initiative will initially focus on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimates, in particular those related to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, with the goal to provide results at a spatial and temporal resolution that is useful to citizens, communities and decision makers.

Activities for period

  • At present, US EPA, which will lead this community initiative, is active in several candidate regions.  In particular, EPA is working closely with India on a number of air quality programs.   The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is surveying Indian cities for a test installation of the AirNow-International system, or ANI;
  • ANI uses several of the same software components as the US AirNow program, making implementation of a satellite fusion system much simpler.  However, the US experience with satellite fusion has shown that a great deal of in-situ data must be analyzed and modeled in order to arrive at quality PM2.5 estimations;
  • During 2016, this initiative will explore India’s monitoring infrastructure and real-time data provisioning to develop a plan towards a satellite data fusion system;
  • In 2017, installation of an AirNow data management center, in a pilot city to be chosen by India’s CPCB, will be completed;
  • During 2018, an AirNow Satellite Data Processor (ASDP)-like system could be prototyped in the region around that pilot city.   As in the US, a year-long intensive evaluation can be performed and relevant case studies compiled.   Also, the output of the fusion process provides statistics that can be used to show deviation, bias, and other metrics;
  • Also during 2017 and beyond, other international regions could be considered as candidates.  The ASDP experience in the US acts as a roadmap, which can be followed in any region that has sufficient real-time data. 

Resource Summary

At present, US EPA has put forth a funding proposal to build a satellite data fusion system for one city in India.   However, the AirNow system infrastructure, a critical part of this GEO initiative, is already funded and underway.



Members: China, Mexico, USA.

Participating Organizations: UNEP, WHO.

Others: Clean Air Asia, Gates Foundation.

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



William Sonntag

United States