The testing campaign of the air monitoring technologies of the European SOCIO-BEE project ends successfully.

The first pilot phase of the SOCIO-BEE project has ended with the completion of several citizen science campaigns that have allowed the air quality to be measured in various areas of Zaragoza. Zaragoza, together with Ancona (Italy) and Maroussi (Greece), has been in charge of testing the devices and the software that has been developed in the project and that will facilitate the carrying out of citizen science experiments for groups and communities that want to know the state of the air we breathe.

The main task of this first phase was to test the connection and proper functioning of the device for measuring air quality, the online platform for the co-design of citizen science campaigns and the mobile application that facilitates their implementation, as well as the correct interoperability between these three elements. To this end, a first approach to the technology – the alpha testing phase in May 2023 – was carried out by the team coordinating the pilot, followed by a beta-testing phase in June, open to members of each of the institutions participating in the pilot (Zaragoza City Council, Zaragoza City of Knowledge Foundation and Ibercivis Foundation), who were able to participate in citizen science campaigns and contribute their feedback to the improvement of the project’s technology.

The campaigns carried out during this pilot were:

  • An alpha-testing campaign was carried out on 5 June with the aim of testing the devices and receiving training prior to the start-up of the pilot phase. Six of the available devices were put into operation and 30 air quality measurements were taken in the vicinity of the Etopia Art and Technology Centre in Zaragoza. This session was used to plan the following campaigns
  • Beta-testing campaign carried out on 13 June, where citizen science campaigns were designed to compare air quality in two areas of Zaragoza. The hypothesis formulated was to find out the difference in air quality inside and outside the low emission zone defined in the city. Fourteen participants took part in the campaign and collected a total of 219 measurements.
    Beta-testing campaign carried out from 28 to 30 June, where two campaigns were designed to compare measurements in an area with trees versus an area without trees and to test the hypothesis: to find out whether air pollution levels are lower in the area with trees than in the area without trees. Twenty participants collected a total of 215 measurements.

Citizen participation in these campaigns has served to learn first-hand how the SOCIO-BEE project technology works, its functionalities and the possibilities it offers to communities that need a scientific methodology to monitor air quality in their environment. The user experience of the participants in this pilot phase will be used to improve the technological components of the project, which will be ready for a second round of testing in 2024, open to the end users of the project – children and young people from the Zaragoza area – who will be able to design their own citizen science experiments.