Justine Calma at The Verge:
As smoke from wildfires chokes the West Coast, social media has been flooded with crowdsourced maps providing near-real time updates on just how horrendous the air really is. Much of the data are from relatively inexpensive sensors from a company called PurpleAir. They’ve only been available for the past few years, but they’re already changing everything from government maps of air quality to how communities are watching out for each other — and keeping track of the air they breathe.
This is a great story about the value that low-cost air sensors provide, namely that they allow a level of coverage detail that would otherwise be impossible.
I discovered this when we were suffering from terrible air quality but our closest official sensor said things were fine. I bought a PurpleAir sensor of my own (which a neighbor discovered the day I got it and correctly intuited was mine) and am using their network to get a clearer idea about just how bad the air quality is outside.
—Linked by Jason Snell