Week 3 Group Assignment: Midterm Proposal



Los Angeles is a car-centric city with an elaborate freeway system and many cars.  Studies have shown that emissions from cars as well as from diesel trucks are highly correlated with high asthma rates and respiratory problems in children. Diesel particulates, carbon monoxide, ultrafine particles, and other particulate matter (PM) are detrimental to the upper and lower respiratory system, particularly in young children.

The movement and distribution of airborne particulates is highly dependent on particles size, wind direction and prevailing weather patterns.  If parents are able to determine when particulates are lowest, they could take their children to parks during those times to minimize exposure to PM.  School officials could shift recesses and lunches to avoid high PM exposure.  Studies have been done on PM exposure and schools, in combination with weather patterns, and data has been presented to school officials, but we know of no map that allows citizens to interactively look at parks and school playgrounds to make informed decisions.


Our group has decided to create an interactive map of parks and schools located in Los Angeles County that utilizes current wind and weather data to actively provide particulate concentrations for a particular location (by clicking, or rolling a mouse over it) at different times during the day.  This main purpose of our project is focused on empowering our target audience – parents/guardians, school board officials, principals and school administrations – to make better informed decisions regarding when and where children should play for any given day, without the consequences of exposing them to high particulate concentrations.

With our website, users would be able to utilize a multitude of functions such as obtaining real-time weather data, viewing average particulate matter for their specific location, alternative transportation solutions, and various other components.  Through the variety of functions available, Winds for a Healthy Change focuses on the individual user, and hopes to cater to their specific need. For instance:

    • Parents can use the website in order to obtain information regarding weather and particulate matter for their specific area.
    • Educators can use the website to demonstrate environmental justice issues through the demographic layers and static average particulate matter data.
    • Students can learn be sustainable by viewing and taking local bus routes within their area, rather than driving cars.

B)  Functionalities of our Website

  • Accordion style menu to select/deselect layers and customize other features
  • Real time weather data – under the weather tab, the ability to turn on and off different variables such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, etc.
  • Static particulate matter data for LA County
  • Static demographic data (income, ethnicity, etc.) – ESRI
  • The ability for the user to see traffic data from Google in order to compare particulate matter in that area
  • Real-time LA Metro to provide alternative transportation options to reduce cars on the road

C)  Wire Frame

D) Sketches

Option 1:

Option 2:

E) Data Set List

  • EPA Data—mostly static sets exportable to Excel. We will either create a KML layer through Google Earth or create an ArcGIS layer.
  • Cal Atlas—may or may not include this because the geographic areas are limited to CARB districts.
  • AirNow.gov—largely static layer exportable for use as KML or ArcGIS.
  • L.A. County Schools—static dataset of schools.
  • Google Traffic—real time data to estimate impacts of air pollution in terms of concentration of cars.
  • Weather Data—World Weather Online API- Can access current and forecasted data for temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, cloud cover, visibility, etc (key meteorological variables) [The alternate source would be Google Maps API’s built-in weather layer.  This layer would limit the website’s versatility.]

F) Milestones

Week 6 (Midterm)

  • 10-15 minute powerpoint presentation with screen shots of different aspects of our website.
  • Skeleton of our website with all functionalities working.
  • A few different clickable layers as well as two functioning API’s.
  • Have the frame of the layout in place, with minor details still to be worked out.
  • A description of our project and a beginning of a user friendly guide to our website

Week 10 (Final)

  • A thorough and easy to understand user guide for our website describing the different functions it will provide to the user and how to navigate it.
  • Features will all be functional with no bugs.
  • A final blog entry describing all the features of the site with flow charts, sketches, wire-frames, functional flow. It will also include our roles in the project
  • A project evaluation with the strengths and weaknesses of our website will also be included in the entry.
  • In addition, our website will have toggle functions, a few radio buttons, a sidebar with clickable checkboxes as well as a legend to any items placed in our map.

G) Concerns

  • Not enough real-time particulate matter data. Most data we have found is static
    • PM data is not current (from 2006-2008)
  • Struggled to get the actual API url, although we have lots of data, it’s not an API
  • Creating unique Arc GIS layers and overlaying them into Google Maps API
    • How the layers will look at various zoom layers and to what specificity/resolution they should be at
  • Layout design that is simplified/streamlined, but still presents all the material to various targeted users

Initial Work #1

Initial Work #2

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