Sensors to create 3D map of Olympic pollution levels

A team of scientists are to make a 3D pollution map of the capital to show how the influx of Olympic visitors affects air quality.

New sensors being installed on the roofs of tall buildings in Kensington, Chelsea and another as yet undecided location will reveal the days and times when pollution levels are at their highest.

The technology, called CityScan, will give readings of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced from traffic emissions and can increase the risk of respiratory illnesses.

The University of Leicester scientists aim to have sensors in place for the Games to monitor the impact of an estimated extra 11  million visitors and up to three  million extra car journeys on London’s already high pollution levels.

Dr Roland Leigh, who is leading the project, said: “We will be able to map the pollution in 3D to show emissions of nitrogen dioxide and how far they spread.

“Traditional sensors take in a single point measurement, giving a very accurate measurement that might be by a roadside.”

Rather than existing technology, which can only give an accurate reading for certain “hotspots” near the sensor, CityScan can show the air quality over every point of the city — including individual roads, playgrounds and other buildings.

“Between two or three CityScan instruments, we can map out a complete urban area and tell you where the nitrogen dioxide is in that space,” added Dr Leigh.

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