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.