Is your exposure to noise too high on certain days? How is air pollution in your street? Will air quality improve in the next hours? Do you want to measure the noise pollution on the way between your home and your office? What pollution levels are considered harmful for your health? Ambiciti provides answers to these questions and many others.
Language: English / French
Runs offline: partially (connection needed to view the maps in detail)
Last update: Android 22/01/2017 (v. 2.3.1) – iOS 27/01/2017 (v. 126.96.36.199)
Website of the developer: Ambiciti
Notes: article updated on 30/01/2017
Ambiciti is a French app (in its design has collaborated the French National Institute for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics – Inria) that could be classified as a “Swiss army knife” of the exposure to pollutants that citizens experience every day, offering information on concentration of NO2, PM2.5 and O3 (the intention is to add more pollutans in the near future) and noise levels supported , all in one application.
In the case of noise, the application measures periodically and automatically (there is also an option of manual measurement) the exposure experienced by the user in relation to this agent. This is done through the microphone of the mobile device (only the intensity of the audio signal is sent to the system. The privacy of the individual is preserved at all times because the app does not record, store or share any file).
Information about air pollution is obtained by combining different sources such as numerical simulations, measurements of fixed and mobile sensors and qualitative observations.
The main menu can be divided into two areas: the relative to query, where you can observe the different values; and the part in which there are the configuration options and information.
In the first, the following options are distinguished:
- “Today”, with the values of air pollution and noise recorded during the day (scroll from right to left through the multiple screens to see all the information. If you point out the sleeping time, the app also measures the night exposure. In fact, the first time you launch the application, you will be prompted to point out this time slot).
- “Noise statistics”, section that stores the noise values of the different days and months.
- “Maps”, that shows noise measurements recorded by the user and air pollution data based on the sources mentioned above. In one of the latest updates a world pollution map has been added.
- “Journey”, option that allows you to define a journey in relation to which you want to measure your exposure (from home to work, for example).
- “Routes”, where you can see on a map which is the best route between two points, taking into account air pollution and noise (this option is only available for a series of cities).
- “Photo”, a new option added in one of the latest updates thanks to which you can take a picture with the level of air and noise pollution overprinted and share it through social networks
Within the area of the menu relative to configuration and information, two options highlight:
- “Calibration”, which lets you to calibrate your mobile device in relation to a sound level meter or other measurement system, also showing the bias of measurements.
- “Settings”, where you can customize the different options of the application (sleeping time, automatic measurements, data export to a csv file, etc.).
Images: Screenshots 04/10/2016. Updated on 30/01/2017. © Ambiciti
It is a fact that people increasingly gives more importance to have information about the air that breathes and the noise level that suffers and the effects that these agents cause on the health. This growing interest is reflected in the proliferation of applications that provide this type of information, although the data collected should welcome them with caution and in any case, never use them for making decisions that involve medical or legal issues, as recommended recently the Nature journal (the article analyzes the validity of low price individual sensors, but the advice can also be extrapolated to the mobile applications).
That said, it is necessary to make a plea for Ambiciti, a complete application that includes among its options the noise measurement, an agent that it does not receive as much attention as other pollutants, but whose effects on health can also be very serious. Although it has not been possible to test its accuracy, the inclusion of an option to calibrate the device shows the effort of the design team of the app to create the most effective tool possible, capable of generating a high degree of awareness about the problem of air and noise pollution. Although for the time being part of the detail information is limited to a series of cities, is expected that the list will expand in the coming months, improvements that will be examined in due time.