Photo by Hamish Weir on Unsplash

Codethecity 15 – Air Quality

How clean is our city’s air? Join us to find out.

We’ve teamed up with 57 North Hacklab, Aberdeen University and several community groups to create a weekend of activity to suit all interests and abilities.

Whether you want to build your own air quality sensor, to improve the software on it, or gather, understand use the data it generates to predict what the air quality will be like in your community, there will be something for you.


Regular tickets are still just £5.

If you want to build your sensor kit (with support to make them) so that you can take home a fully-working unit and plug it into your wifi network, the tickets are £35 which not only covers the cost of the parts but also covers weekend entry.

You can get tickets on Eventbrite.


The local authority already has a few high quality / high cost air quality sensors across Aberdeen. These are very specific to their locale, and do not show what the environment is like just a few meters away. Academic thinking is now that having a large number of lower quality, low-cost sensors is much more useful and informative.

Some local citizens have already started to build and deploy their own sensors. You can see some on this map.

Our aim is to build a bigger network, and to use the open data generated to inform the debate about pollution, public health, transport etc.

Weekend Activities

We have identified a range of potential activities, listed below. You may have more ideas which you can share with other attendees.

Sensor Building

You can build a fully-working sensor for your house, school, or office which you can take away and make live. It will generate its own data, which you will see on the map above, making the data for Aberdeen richer, allowing everyone a better view of how clean our air is.

If you want to build a kit there is a small charge for the components. Full instruction and assistance will be provided to assemble these. Please choose with ‘Sensor Builder’ ticket, and specifiy on which day you want to make your kit.

Working with the data

There are loads of options to work with the data from existing and future sensors.

These include

  • fixing a minor issue with the existing data Collected Data (see )
  • Build an API for the access of the Luftdaten sensor data to allow querying of the sensor data
  • Allow historical reading to be analysed against the official government sensors for comparison
  • Use the data; wind speed, humidity… to build live maps of readings to identify sources of emissions.
  • Compensate readings from sensors against factors which affect pollution levels to attempt to understand the emissions of pollutants in a given area.
  • Build predictive models of future pollution
  • Create alerts systems to warn of anticipated spikes in pollutants…..


  • Add to the code for the Lufdaten sensors to allow connection over LoRaWAN interface.
  • Create LoRaWAN server code to allow sensors to feed up to the luftdaten website.
  • Security testing of the IoT Code used by the Luftdaten sensors.

Community Groups / Educators / Activists / Journalists

  • Understand the data
  • Identify how this could assist with local issues, campaigns, educational activities.


The CTC15 event all happens on the weekend of 16th and 17th February 2019.


The event will take place at the Fraser Noble Building on the Aberdeen University campus.

What will happen at the event?

A build team will work on assembling sensor kits under instruction from 57 North volunteers,

For those who want to work with the data, software or use of the information created from the data:

  • We will begin with identification of opportunities such as those above.
  • Next we will assist you to generate ideas to address these.
  • You will form project teams to address an idea that you wish to work on.
  • The teams will go off to start to work through their approach
  • They will then report back regularly to the whole room on progress.
  • At the end of the second day your team will have developed a prototype ‘solution’ to a challenge, or to put an idea into place.
  • We end with a show and tell of what has been developed

Open Data / Open Source

The sensor kits which you will build use open source software – and generate open data. If you are not familiar with the concept, this is data which is made freely available, openly licensed for re-use by anyone, in neutral, machine-readable format. Once it is available then anyone (even you) can build anything you like with it – or reuse it in any way you fancy, even to start a new business!


The location of the building is at the foot of this email. If you don’t know the Fraser Noble Building, it is the one with a large white dome above it, and will be on the right as you approach the new Library (the big glass cube) from the High Street direction.

We will have signs on the doors, and up the stairs, pointing you to the room where we will be running the event. While there should be someone on the door to let you in, there will also be a phone number on the poster at the door if you can’t get in.

If you have mobility issues there is an alternative route instead of the stairs – and we can offer assistance if you need it. Just let us know when you arrive.


Parking is free in the carpark next to the Sir Duncan Rice Library (the unmissable glass cube), just off Bedford Road. If driving ensure that you approach from St Machar Drive to avoid the bus gate.


We’ll have juices, pastries and other breakfast goods available on both Saturday and Sunday morning on arrival. There will be tea and coffee etc available all day. We will have sandwiches etc from the Bread Maker for lunch on both days. And we will get pizza delivered at Saturday tea time. We’ll note any dietary issues you tell us about, and aim to cater for those.


The event proper gets going at 9.30 but please get there by about 9am if you can, so that you can fuel up. We will be there from about 08.30. We normally finish up on Saturday about 7.30pm if you can stay that long.

And we normally start a little later on Sunday morning. We will confirm that before you leave on Saturday. We will finish up late Sunday afternoon following a show and tell.

This is a weekend event. Participants will get the most out of it by attending for the full weekend, and teams work most effectively if they are clear on what commitment attendees are able to make to attending. We have three classes of tickets – weekend, Saturday or Sunday. Please choose the type which matches your availability to commit.

What to bring?

We will have loads of stationery (inc. post-its, paper, pens and other materials) for ideation etc.

If you are a coder, developer, designer, video-editor or similar, then please bring a laptop which contains the software you will need. There will be wifi.

If you want to shoot video or take photos for blogging, please bring your equipment.

Otherwise, just come as you are with a willingness to take part and learn from everyone else there. Each of us always learns new skills at these weekends. If you want to bring a laptop or tablet too, that’s fine.

Social Media

If you are a Twitter user, please follow @codethecity and tweet about the event using the hashtag #codethecity.

Please feel free to write about your weekend on Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium or the platform of your choice.

Finally, if we have missed anything, please let us know!

Ian, Steve, Bruce and Andrew

Code The CIty

Header Photo by Hamish Weir on Unsplash