Your Name and Title: Catalina Escobar, Co-Founder 

Library, School, or Organization Name: MAKAIA

Co-Presenter Name(s): Ana Restrepo, Project Director

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Colombia

Language in Which You Will Present: English or Spanish (ideally Spanish, but we can accommodate)

Target Audience(s): librarians, policy makers, NGO leaders, information specialists, techies at libraries, data analysts.

Short Session Description (one line): Air Quality Data through Community Engagement in Public Libraries

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

The city of Medellín, as many others around the world, has an air quality issue. Pollution has become a big problem and people need the tools and knowledge to understand it, not only to make their own healthy decisions but to hold goverments and the whole society accountable. Information, knowledge and open data are key for this. What a better place to engage citizens about air quality than public libraries? for centuries, libraries have been the place to go for knowledge and information, know that knowledge and information is in different formats, libraries have a new role to play with new formats, new devices and new ways of sharing knowledge. 

This is exactly what we did through a Collective Open Data Creation Project: A project that sought the promotion of data culture through the installation of a network of sensors for monitoring air quality with the participation and commitment of each citizen in the use of open data. To achieve this, we execute two components: technological adoption and training.

Date of Implementation: May 2017 – Currently

Location: Medellín, Colombia

Technological adoption: In the beginning, we selected ten (10) public libraries and community centers in the city of Medellín that were willing to host an Air Quality sensor. In each one of them a sensor capable of measuring particles in the range of 2.5 microns and 10 microns in diameter was located. These particles establish the criteria to determine the levels of pollution in the air. The sensors are connected to a WiFi network in order to visualize in real time the data registered to the platform purpleair.com for further analysis. More information about the sensors, here: https://www.purpleair.com

In addition, we have one (1) additional sensor in the MAKAIA offices, and every day, in our Twitter account, we publish a summary of air quality variations.

Trainings: We hosted workshops in each public library and community centers, workshops about: 

  • Air quality and literacy in the use of open data.
  • Installation, configuration and preventive maintenance of the sensor, Big Data.
  • Processing of data published by the sensor, visualization and practical exercise.

In the workshops we had the participation of assistants from the community of the libraries; people of different ages, professions and work. The development and execution of this pilot is systematized and documented in order that other organizations can replicate the project or that the scope is extended to other regions. These sensors are currently in operation and providing information on air quality in real time. MAKAIA works in the extension of this sensor network, bringing communities closer to the culture of open data and improving practices that affect the environment.

In 2017, we trained 113 people close to the measurement centers through the Project Trainings and installed 11 sensors. We also held 2 workshops in the cities of Medellin and Cali, with 43 attendees.

In 2018, we benefited 211 people and 22 organizations by holding 30 workshops and developing other actions,

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

https://makaia.org/en/projects/technology-for-social-change/open-data/

https://www.purpleair.com/map#12/6.2387/-75.56862

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