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Public Lab Wiki documentation

Open Air

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This is an open source community effort to develop a range of low-cost air quality monitoring and remediation tools. Welcome!

Join in by:

  • Reading about goals and asking great questions
  • Trying (and critiquing) our community-made how-to guides
  • Posting your own how-to guides and mods
  • Building on others’ work; hack and remix the kits to refine and expand them
  • Submit your improvements for inclusion in an upcoming starter kit release or add-on
  • Serving on a Research Review Group for a 3 month period


State-by-state info sheets on indoor air quality assistance and governance (work in progress!)


Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Frequently Asked Questions about air quality

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
How to connect an anemometer to an air particulate monitor? @crispinpierce new contributor 5 days ago 0
How subsurface gasses migrate and what allows them to dissipate? Landfill gasses @denissebn_06 23 days ago 5
HOW do i find testing for air quality in my home - specifically for silica? @MaryBandy 6 months ago 4
What are some affordable methods of air quality monitoring in New Orleans? @purl 6 months ago 5
Chevron is up for a permit renewal again (under title 5 of the Clean Air Act), we have a 4800 page report on the company, how can we get through it and pull out the valuable info? @stevie 7 months ago 24
What are your experiences using low-cost VOC sensors outdoors? And other questions about accuracy. @bhamster 8 months ago 5
Can a successful heavy metal analysis using moss samples be designed for community partners? @stevie 10 months ago 3
For the Bucket Monitor, how many tedlar bags do you need per-sampling? @mimiss 11 months ago 5
What causes shimmering air above flares? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 5
Where is non-compliance reported for fencline monitoring? @A_SCH about 1 year ago 2
How accurate is data on WebFire? @ajg434 about 1 year ago 3
How do you account for wind in an air study? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 2
Updated list of EPA TO methods? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 1
What are ways to monitor for oil and gas spills on private property? @stevie about 1 year ago 3
T and RH compensation for PM measurements? @subir about 1 year ago 3
Can we add a 2um filter to the bucket monitor to capture particulates? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 4
Have you used the bucket air sampler or other grab sample tool? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 13
Which NO2 Sensor for low-concentration measurement? @Alex_Solaga about 1 year ago 4
MiniVol for gas sensing? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 2
Is the Purple Air sensor an EPA-validated tool? @kgradow1 about 1 year ago 4
Have you used surveys to inform open hardware development? @kgradow1 over 1 year ago 1
Can we use a Purple Air through a VPN? @stevie over 1 year ago 6
Where can I find good low-cost air quality sensors? @mgoodwin over 1 year ago 5
Can you blur the location of a Purple Air device? @stevie over 1 year ago 5
Does anyone have experience assembling low-cost VOC kits using Adafruit’s VOC sensor? @stevie over 1 year ago 8
Are there examples where environmental concerns were addressed as a result of people filing complaints (or suspected permit violations)? @stevie over 1 year ago 7
Do you really need a special filter to filter out ultrafine particulates in the air? @BostonFern over 1 year ago 3
Vape detector @Ryanwest over 1 year ago 7
What are the health impacts of the Aluf Plastics Plant from air pollution? @stevie over 1 year ago 5
How do we keep the pressure and momentum high after a recent court ruling win? @stevie over 1 year ago 2
What are air testing labs or companies we can recommend to our town board that our community can trust? @stevie over 1 year ago 3
Is there a way to make a cheaper "UV Hound"? @liz almost 2 years ago 13
SPS30 instead of PlanTower units? @subir almost 2 years ago 4
Which sensor is the best to use it during cycling? @niklasjordan almost 2 years ago 2
Who are the environmental organizations that do air quality monitoring in Deer Park Texas? @stevie almost 2 years ago 1
How we can do our own air quality monitoring in Deer Park Texas? @stevie almost 2 years ago 0
combining code for PMS7003 into Aircasting code @vinushi1995 almost 2 years ago 2
What are indoor air quality concerns related to nail salons? @stevie about 2 years ago 8
PMS7003 with Arduino MEGA2560 @vinushi1995 about 2 years ago 3
How can I start a project on environmental air quality around crop dusting areas @lubcarreon about 2 years ago 7
What is the correct AQI measure ? @sagarpreet over 2 years ago 22
How to interpret PMS5003 sensor values? @samr over 2 years ago 10
Is there a predictive relationship between the number of PM 2.5 and smaller airborne particulates compared to the mass of the same ug per cubic meter? @Tomp over 2 years ago 5
Where can diffusion tubes for detecting nitrogen dioxide be found in different parts of the world? @warren over 2 years ago 3
Seeking sources of local wind/weather data @warren over 2 years ago 3
How to start air monitoring project? @shannonkmcalpine over 2 years ago 9
Has anyone used EPA's RETIGO to upload air quality data? @liz over 2 years ago 0
Building a case against Aluf Plastics -- polluting my town & I need help @michaelwma over 2 years ago 9
What do we know about EPA National Emissions Inventory (NEI) data? @warren almost 3 years ago 0
How can we connect a PMS5003 dust sensor to an Arduino? @warren almost 3 years ago 14
Can biosolids promote certain types of mold growth in buildings? @zengirl2 almost 3 years ago 0
Low-cost air quality sensors to measure PM2.5, PM10? @bigmit37 almost 3 years ago 9
Air quality balloons - an updated version? @cindy_excites about 3 years ago 8
Is there someone who can help pull and analyze Purple Air data? @stevie about 3 years ago 9
Looking for hands-on help with a datalogger! @Bronwen over 3 years ago 6
Can MiniVol (TAS Particulate Matter Monitor) measure Black Carbon or Elemental Carbon? @stevie over 3 years ago 2
Hey @matthew I am trying to build same PPM kit you guys have here. Where did you guys get the sampler stub? @Matej over 3 years ago 2
what data-logger will work with my portable HCHO meter? @nshapiro over 3 years ago 44
Lego Spectrometer suitable for studying sunlight? @jsbonillam over 3 years ago 12
3 particle type @Ag8n over 3 years ago 0
What are good humidity sensor/monitors to use with gas sampling kits? @gretchengehrke over 3 years ago 2
Anyone in Ontario working on ultrafine particle pollution? @liz over 3 years ago 0
What are different ways to collect respirable dust samples for analysis? @warren over 3 years ago 3
What kind of Framework for Participatory PM2.5 can be used for creating monitoring cities? @stevie over 3 years ago 0
What is the best way to take a sample of snow to look for particulates? @stevie over 3 years ago 3
What are ways to make DIY filters to remove particulate pollution from indoor air? @zengirl2 over 3 years ago 12
What are some ways to collect dust or particulate samples for analysis? @warren over 3 years ago 4
Training in odor identification? @sara over 3 years ago 1
How do I choose between different types of air canisters for grab sampling? @stevie almost 4 years ago 0
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke almost 4 years ago 1
Methods for or experience measuring workplace hydrogen sulfide gas? @gretchengehrke almost 4 years ago 2
What type of health issues are associated with inhalation of ultrafine particles? @liz about 4 years ago 2
What do the terms attainment and nonattainment mean? @liz about 4 years ago 2
How do you account for signal drift with sensors in the field? @gretchengehrke about 4 years ago 2
Do you have resources on odor logs and odor reporting platforms? @gretchengehrke about 4 years ago 7
What are the health effects related to fine particles of calcium carbonate? @stevie about 4 years ago 8
AERMOD: Is it a good model? How has it been tested and verified? @marlokeno almost 5 years ago 0
lightweight air quality sensors for a weather balloon @glenc almost 5 years ago 3
What kind/size of microdust does activated carbon give off & how much of a concern is it? @jfrankamp almost 5 years ago 2
In the plant based air purifier, could airflow go the other way, using an unmodified pump? @warren almost 5 years ago 9
How can i know if my plant-based air filter is working? @liz almost 5 years ago 5
Is CALPUFF a good air quality modeling tool @marlokeno almost 5 years ago 4
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Also see http://publiclab.org/wiki/air-quality

Additional media

By @zengirl2: https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/08/09/how-to-purify-your-air-with-hacked-plants-publiclab-citizenscience/