"OzoneMap" App Developed by Two Computational Physiology Lab Students

“OzoneMap” App Developed by Two Computational Physiology Lab Students
Real-Time Air Quality Reports Delivered

Now, Houstonians have a tool to help determine air quality in their communities and throughout the greater metropolitan area. “OzoneMap” is a free smartphone and tablet app (for both Apple and Android products) that delivers real-time air quality reports.

OzoneMapThe app is made possible through a partnership between the University of Houston, Air Alliance Houston and the American Lung Association.

Computer Science Ph.D. student Ilyas Uyanik and undergraduate Ashik Khatri, both from the Computational Physiology Lab, developed “OzoneMap” under the supervision of professor Ioannis Pavlidis.

The app makes information from HoustonCleanAirNetwork.com available on a mobile platform. The website, a project of the partnership, delivers real-time ozone updates.

The two projects are part of the clean air initiatives sponsored by a three-year, $450,000 grant from Houston Endowment (PI: Dan Price).“OzoneMap” features a map of the greater Houston area. Ozone clouds (in color) are tracked in real-time, as they are moving through different parts of the city. Conditions range from good (white) to hazardous (purple). The app’s users can select from three different maps –standard, satellite or hybrid – and can access information on the health effects of ozone.

“This belongs to a new generation of weather apps that give real-time and location-precise information about environmental pollutants. For example, instead of warnings about ‘High Ozone levels in the Houston area all day long’ that you typically get on the weather channel, the app can show you ‘High Ozone levels on your street from 2-3 pm,’” Pavlidis said.

For people who are physically active outdoors or have breathing problems, this can make a huge difference in their day-to-day planning.

There are only a handful of ozone tracking apps for specific cities, such as Los Angeles and Houston, where a network of environmental sensors is already in place. This particular app has a very well thought user interface – simple and functional – that sets it apart.

“The students involved in the project are highly trained, not only in programming, but also in human-computer interaction research, and this makes all the difference,” Pavlidis said.

OzoneMap is now available for Android devices through Google Play and for Apple products through the Apple App Store. The app already has several thousand users in the Houston metropolitan area and has received broad national press coverage.

- Excerpted from UH news release by Mike Emery, with additional information from Ioannis Pavlidis