About BMoy

Ph.D. Student, Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Winds Movin’ On Up!

  1. Final project proposal (can be a copy paste of main areas from mid-term, but make sure to update with final project goals, and as much detail as possible)

Air quality issues remain one of the most pervasive issues within the United States.  Many states with some of the largest populations, such as New York, California, and Texas, fail to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which have been put in place to reduce health outcomes from poor air quality.  Exposure to such polluted air is attributed through a confluence of factors, such as transportation to and from schools, outdoor physical activity, and a lack of knowledge regarding poor air quality days, or “Action Days”.  Chronic exposure to high particulate matter (PM), ozone, or smog can contribute to upper and lower respiratory problems, asthma, or worse, decreased lung capacity.

In order to address such gaps, it is with great pleasure that the WINDS FOR A HEALTHY CHANGE Inc. would like to unveil the BETA version of their interactive mapping tool, which aims to inform the US public regarding real-time air quality, in order to make better-informed decisions regarding their outdoor activities.  Our tool, currently in its beta phase, provides real-time information on a number of factors related to air quality such as: temperature, wind direction, wind speed and air quality indexes.  Each variable is presented with an easily understood user interface which empowers, educates, and informs our target groups.

Who We Aim to Please:

  • General Public – Our final product aims to empower the general public to make informed decisions regarding their outdoor activities.  Whereas government notifications may not be sufficient, we believe the general public can check our website daily to see current air quality conditions, wind conditions, or other factors that can aid in determining whether or not to be outside.  We at WINDS FOR A HEALTHY CHANGE Inc. believe that “Knowledge is Power”, and hope to arm the general public with the knowledge to make their own informed decisions, with the additional benefits of reducing the prevalence of upper and lower respiratory conditions nationwide.

Through such informed decisions, we hope to aid in reducing the overall incidence and prevalence of respiratory issues among the United States population.

Implementation:
The Winds for a Healthy Change Inc. will launch our website as a multi-faceted tool through schools around the country.  Teachers will be able to use our website in order to make informed decisions about poor air quality days and whether to allow children to play in such conditions.  We believe that teachers can educate their students regarding the severity and concern regarding air pollution, and we hope their students can bring this information home to their parents or guardians and that they will refer to our website daily when making informed decisions.  After parents and teachers realize the utility and usefulness of our product, we hope they’ll recommend our website to those they think can benefit the most from this information.  

Your Website Can Do What?!
Winds for a Healthy Change Inc. has scoured the internet in order to provide the user the most up-to-date information and technology regarding air pollution and public health.  Whereas a multitude of websites have sporadic information on  a variety of weather and air quality tools, our website combines these features together in a map that is both user-friendly and easy to understand.  A few of the features we’ve gathered are:

  • Temperature data – users have the ability to view the temperature and the weather description.
  • Wind data – users are able to see how strong the wind is as well as the wind direction.  There are three different wind strengths represented by different colored arrows and eight different arrows in which we classify wind direction.
  • Air quality data – users are able to see the concentration of particulate matter from a number of monitoring sources provided by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
  • Demographic Layers – Allows users the ability to see a variety of demographic information that may be useful to illustrate environmental justice issues.
  1. Updated wireframe and/or mockup/storyboards
    Same as before.
  2. Current development status 
  • Issues with setmap() not working-  This makes all the ArcServer layers not work, even though they work in clean maprooms.
  • Making the zip code selection options more clear (clicking and user input)
  • Clicking on locations outside of the United States now have an error message prompting the user to click again rather than having the loading bar run continuously with no end.
  • Some button calls had conflicts, so we fixed those issues and reduced the code down to what was actually necessary.
  • Buttons are sized interactively based on the AQI number.  The bigger the button the worse the AQI value.
  1. Challenges/issues you are having

Consistent Real-time Air Quality Calls – Initially, our main concern involved accessing the real-time data from the Air Now website.  This has fortunately been fixed however, our individual calls whenever we “click” on a specific location can provide information on different variables, ranging from “Particulate Matter 2.5”, “Particulate Matter 10” or “Ozone”.  The calls for the information basically retrieve the most current data (we think), and feeds that to our website, making it difficult to have just one specific pollutant to work with.  
User interface –  
This has been our problem since the beginning, and it’s still plaguing us.  We’ve decided to allow the user to use input their specific zip code at the start of opening the page, and then allow the user to search for their specific points of interest afterwards.  We’re still debating about what tools should be provided on the screen and what information should be provided in the navbar (if we’re still using the navbar).
GIS Layers –
We’re having difficult with the navbar in incorporating all of our GIS layers.  For some reason the call won’t display on the map, despite have the correct coding.  We’re not sure how to fix that.  
Styling/colors –
Though we’ve eliminated the use of the styling sheet to some extent, the Bootstrap has been somewhat of a pain to use (though it is very useful!).  We’re still trying to figure out the extent of what it can do (though very afraid of the “Customize option), but we’re slowly getting there.

Winds for a Healthy Change Update!

Winds Working Beta

After receiving comments back about our midterm Beta version of our website, we needed to focus the functionality of our website.  In going with the theme of a real-time map, we decided to focus on the AirNow Air Quality Index (AQI) data and present it in a useful manner since calling/organizing a data would be a challenge in itself.  Originally, we found that hourly observations go back to around July 2009, but this meant that there were ~20,000 individual data files.  To process such a large amount of data would be very difficult.  In addition, each file did not have a consistent set of data from each monitoring station; therefore making data organization even more of a challenge.

As of late last week, Yoh helped us discover that we could make calls to historical data.  With this knowledge, we won’t have to worry as much about data organization.  The goal with obtaining all of this data would be to build something similar to what Google Maps has for hourly traffic patterns.  but before getting to that, we would like to first backtrack and decide which variables to display.  AQI is calculated differently for each of five parameters– Ozone, CO, NO2, PM 2.5, and PM 10, so now we need to decide which parameter(s) to focus our efforts or whether we should allow the user to access them all.  Currently, we are doing some literature review and consulting air quality experts on campus to see if there is a justified way of aggregating the data to a single AQI number.

Further updates include:

  • Updating the “About Us” page, which we feel needs significant improvement in conjunction with our overall project, not only in design, but also layout.
  • Working on incorporating an accordion panel instead of our current tabs.  We are looking into this feature in order to provide a better user interface, but we are also exploring other options provided by Bootstrap.  They have some really pretty groovy layouts.
  • How to present our title.  We really enjoyed TESLA’s rotating gallery, and we’re thinking about incorporating something similar to that, or something more minimalistic.  This is more of an afterthought at this point, as we want to ensure that the majority of our functions are working and are appropriate to our overall goals.
  • Trying to create and incorporate a wind vector matrix.  This was a suggestion presented to us during the midterm, so we wanted to make sure we address it.  Instead of having one single arrow associated with the temperature sensor, we wanted to create a matrix of wind arrows that covers the entire area.  We believe this would provide more comprehensive wind information compared to the single arrow.  We currently have some issues displaying the icons.
  • Obtain real-time data from the AirNow API.  This was one of the largest drawbacks to our midterm, and thanks to Yoh, we were able to get it to work.  We have integrate that into our existing project, but we need to make additional tweaks where necessary.
  • Our user interface is one of the largest challenges we are facing.  As our site provides a wide variety of data, trying to keep the site easy and simple for users to peruse is proving difficult.  Our next steps are to look at various other sites to gain inspiration from their existing layouts, and then try to mimic and adapt our site accordingly.

Recent accomplishments:

  • Recently we were able to incorporate Yoh’s code into our existing prototype.  We are excited at having real-time data now, and we need to come up with a way to easily display the information for the user.  Some idea’s we’re having involve:
    • Search bar
    • Predefined areas (limits users’ ability to search)
  • We were able to code for the wind vector, but at this point, it does not seem to be working on our site.  We may need additional help on this.

UCLA-West Bus Route: New and Improved

 

New and improved!

After a much needed hiatus, I was able to improve my website with additional Arc GIS layers.  Seeing the relative utility of knowing where parks and schools are that the bus line could service, I provided a toggle-able capability that’ll allow users to view these two features of interest.

I also realized that the CSS was also outdate, and updated the website with additional Bootstrap features.  I kept the Google Places feature to provide further points of interest, as well as the existing bus-route that services the area.

UCLA-West Bus Route, with Additional Features!

The new UCLA-West bus route would service a multitude of business, institutions, and residencies if it was to be created.  As you can see from the snapshot provided above, if the bus routes were added, a large population (shown in yellow), would be able to easily access the various amenities highlighted above.

The additional feature of the map to allow the user to toggle on and off the businesses allows map users to see the various proximity and location of the various services.

It’s pretty awesome!

UCLA-West Bus Extension

MOST AWESOME BUS ROUTE ADDITION EVER!

This week’s exercise strongly supported the need to create the five new bus stops currently proposed.  Only one bus route (the #2), services two out of the five proposed stops, indicating a definite need to provide service to the area.  With the addition of topographical factors (such as the giant hill in the middle of the proposed service area), indicates an even greater need for those stops.

Week 1: Website Assignment – Bus Routes on the Westside of Westwood

 

The Westside of Westwood, bordered by Veteran Ave., Gayley Ave., and Veteran Ave., is home to a large number of both graduate and undergraduate UCLA students.  Known for the large hill comprising this region, students within this area face a daunting daily trek to and from the UCLA campus.  The most difficult location for students is located along Veteran Ave., where students must choose whether to face the large commute both up-and down-hill to reach the UCLA campus, or take the longer commute north to Gayley Ave. or south to Weyburn Ave. to catch the UCLA Shuttle.

Few bus routes are available for those living along the Westside, with the most popular route being the UCLA Shuttle service provided to the graduate students at Weyburn Terrace.   Despite being a service provided to the graduate student population, students living along the Westside will walk an additional 10-15 minutes to reach this bus stop, only to be forced to wait for several filled busses to pass before they are able to take the shuttle to campus.  This severely stresses the existing capacity of the UCLA Shuttle system and emphasizes the demand for additional bus stops within the area.

Based on the proposed map (above), five new stops would be incorporated along the western edge of Westwood in order to address the growing demand.  These stops would be:

  • Veteran Ave. and Weyburn Ave. – This stop was decided to alleviate the long commute times student face when leaving the UCLA Weyburn Terrace complex in order to get to UCLA.
  • Veteran Ave. and Levering Ave.  – This stop was created due to the difficult trek students face within this area to reach campus.  Students must choose whether to dissect the large hill directly in their path, go northward around the hill, or head south to catch the UCLA Shuttle to campus.  There are no existing bus routes in this area.
  • Veteran Ave. and Gayley Ave.  – This stop provides service to those at the northern edge of the area, which also includes those from UCLA’s Residence Halls.  This stop is the furthest from UCLA’s main campus.
  • Gayley Ave. and Strathmore Ave. – This stop was designated to provide the over 12,000 students living within the UCLA Residence Halls direct service to the Westwood area.
  • Gayley and Le Conte Ave.  – This stop serves as the main connection point linking students on campus to the Westside of Westwood, or students on the Westside commuting to campus.  This stop connects to the existing UCLA Shuttle Service that loops around campus.

Given the large number of students living within the area, it is clear that these bus routes are not only useful, but necessary.  Combined with the fact that UCLA intends to increase its student population provides further emphasis and support that more and more students will be living within the Westside of Westwood, and that greater transportation options, such as these bus stops, are needed.