Weeknotes: Indoor AQ with balena-sense, OpenAQ office hours

2 minute read #airquality #openaq #balena #weeknotes

I setup an indoor air quality monitor and attended OpenAQ office hours.

indoor air quality monitoring with balena-sense #

“Breakout Garden with bme680 hat sensor on top of a Raspberry Pi Zero

I setup balena-sense to monitor my room’s air quality. It uses a bme680 sensor for getting Indoor Air Quality index, humidity, pressure, and temperature readings.

The balena-sense project works on the balena cloud platform. It’s a containerized app that comes with influxdb, grafana and other components.

The bme680 only outputs the IAQ rating values, not the raw pollutant metrics. But it’s still super useful to know the AQ levels in your room.

“balena-sense grafana dashboard with IAQ levels and a graph of IAQ from the last hour”

openaq office hours #

I attended the OpenAQ Office Hours, first time in months. We met a newcomer who’s doing AQ research, who provided some interesting perspective as a new API user. As there’s a new API version maturing, there seems to be room for improvement on the documentation side. And probably existing client libraries need some time to catch up.

Speaking of clients, in theory, it’s possible to generate client libraries from the new API’s OpenAPI spec. I haven’t tried the OpenAPI generation tools, but I’m curious how the quality and user experience of the output will be.

As the OpenAQ API is open access, and not rate limited, you can download a lot of data from it. And if you know your way around AWS, you basically have unlimited access to the whole dataset via S3 and Athena. But maybe there could be another way to get bulk data for people who are not so familiar with AWS Athena.

Let’s imagine. Think of it as an archival service that generates compressed CSVs, on-demand. For example, India’s PM2.5 data from 2020. It doesn’t have to create files for all countries, and all years, only the one’s people requested. And once generated, the files could be stored forever (would be most useful for popular queries).

study #

Last month, I started a new course on Udacity. This time, I will only be able to study in the evening, so I planned it over the next months. I’ll talk later about what the topics are and everything.

The trick is to put in regular hours into it and not procrastinate. I was definitely procrastinating on the first project, because it dealt with quite familiar topics. This made it feel like a chore. But sometimes you just gotta power through it, and get to the interesting bits.