People are most concerned about their local environment. To get their attention about
Air Quality (AQ), it is important to have specific AQ information down to their
neighborhood. Currently, this is not available in HK, or anywhere else.
Based on satellite remote-sensing data, we have developed algorithms to calculate the
surface Particular Matter (PM) distribution with resolution down to 1 km. The validity
of our algorithms has already been proven with air qulaity monitoring station data from the EPD.
Through this project, we have integrated these algorithms and developed a system
capable of deriving wide-area high-resolution surface PM distributions using satellite
data. The information content provided by this system is dramatically better than
what is available with conventional monitoring technologies.
This system provides a comparative edge for professionals in high-value service
sectors like environmental consulting, urban planning and other sectors as HK transits to a
knowledge-based society. With this system, these professionals can provide more
specific AQ-related assessments and recommendations for their private and public
Current available AQ information
Everyone would agree that having good Air Quality (AQ) is important. However,
what most people really care or concern about is their local
environment, not the overall situation or average over a large area.
To get their attention and support for AQ improvement, it is most
useful to provide them with AQ information specifically relevant to
their housing estate or business district.
Remotely sensed data for particulate matter monitoring
With fourteen AQ monitoring stations, Hong Kong has already one of the
densest AQ monitoring network in the world. Yet, we are still very
far from being able to provide a comprehensive description of AQ over
HK. For example, many distinct air sheds (e.g., Tseung Kwan O, Sai
Kung, Sheung Shui, the southern side of Hong Kong and Lantau and
others) are still not adequately covered by the current monitoring
network; it is difficult to imagine being able to differentiate the
AQ within the same district. The cost for doing so with technologies
currently used at the AQ monitoring stations is prohibitive.
Not just for the average people, it would also be beneficial for many sectors,
both private and public, if wide-area high density AQ information can
be provided. Environmental consulting companies can use it as primary
data for analysis or as input to their models to provide specific AQ
assessments or recommendations for their client. Planers can use it
to choose different design options in their urban or infrastructure
development projects. Real estate agents can use it to provide
prospective buyers with specific AQ information about the real-estate
development projects they are pushing for, while property developers
can use it during their site selection process to avoid the
embarrassment of building in overly polluted areas. Business related
to remedial AQ products like air cleaners or filters can use the
information to target specific districts in the deployment of their
sales forces. Finally, researchers in both private and public sectors
can also use it to conduct more detailed district-based AQ-related
Our progress and approach
During the past two years we have developed a number of algorithm modules
capable of using satellite products to derive detailed PM
distributions over Hong Kong and the PRD area. The validity of the
algorithms has been confirmed with real-time PM measurements from AQ
monitoring stations operated by the Hong Kong Environmental
Protection Department (EPD).
Our aim is to integrate these algorithms and develop an environmental
informatics system capable of deriving high-resolution and wide-area
surface PM distribution using remote-sensed data from satellites.
Through the web graphical users' interface (GUI), the users can
specify spatial and temporal parameters, and the system will extract
the datasets for downloading, or generating a distribution map, or