The City of Los Angeles has won a US$2-million grant from NASA to better coordinate satellite and ground sensor data that measure air particles.

The ‘Predicting What We Breathe’ initiative will use machine learning with satellite, airborne and ground sensor data that measure particulate matter to create an algorithm that other cities could then use.

Jeanne Holm, Deputy Chief Information Officer and Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles, told Cities Today that the problem with space data is that it is often taken from a satellite 30 kilometers above ground and is not very specific, whereas ground sensors are often three meters above the ground and give “very hyperlocal” data.

“The idea is to combine [the two] and see if we can’t characterize what the space data is telling us and then measure the particles after interventions,” she said, on the sidelines of the City Leadership Forum, hosted by Chicago and Aurora, and convened by the Cities Today Institute.

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