Friday, March 24, 2017
Environment - "People in Pittsburgh can report odors to authorities using a smartphone app"
James Bruggers reports today in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Pittsburgh's got an app for them.
It's called Smell PGH.
And there's a case to be made that Louisvillians should have a Smell LOU app on their iPhones.
The smartphone app allows people in Pittsburgh to report and describe any pungent emanations as they are being detected, with the information going to public health officials charged with investigating such complaints. People reporting the odors can also see on a map what other people are experiencing, and where.
"There is an empowerment in that," said M. Beatrice Dias, project director of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, which developed the app with support from the Heinz Endowments. * * *
Odors can be a nuisance, sometimes minor, sometimes serious. They can indicate the presence of pollution that could be harmful and in a localized area not detected by regional air quality monitoring.
The app came out of work CREATE Lab did to help connect and empower – with cameras and shared Google spreadsheets – a neighborhood that was having difficulty with pollution from a coke works industrial plant, Dias said. Carnegie Mellon rolled it out last fall and it's available for anyone to use.