Microsoft predicts China's air pollution with data analysis

The company has launched an air quality mobile app for users in China

Microsoft's air quality app in China, known as "small fish weather" when translated in English.

Microsoft's air quality app in China, known as "small fish weather" when translated in English.

Microsoft has taken its big data analysis to China, with computing models that can forecast the air quality across 41 cities in the country.

Pollution continues to be a major problem in China, with hazardous air quality levels a common occurrence in cities including Beijing. To bring some clarity to the situation, Microsoft has come up with a mobile app that can predict the air quality two days in advance.

The Your Weather app works by first taking official data from government air quality monitoring stations across a 300 kilometer distance, and then using weather data to predict the pollution levels. The weather data used includes forecasts, along with current information on humidity, temperature and wind direction in a selected city.

Microsoft has refined the computing model over time, so that in a Beijing the air quality predictions have a 75 percent accuracy rate for a 6-hour forecast, said Yu Zheng, a researcher at Microsoft Research Asia.

It can also do forecasts two days ahead of time, but the predictions are less accurate, and provide a range estimating the upcoming maximum and minimum air quality levels for the city.

Although air quality apps are common in China, Microsoft's technology attempts to offer a more complete view of the pollution picture.

Other mobile apps offer public data from local air quality monitoring stations. But Microsoft's app will go further, and estimate the current air quality in each square kilometer across a city.

Beijing, for instance, has 35 air quality monitoring stations. But even those stations can be spread far apart, leaving gaps in city districts that have no official air monitoring, Zheng said. However, by taking weather, car traffic and city density data, Microsoft can combine it with the government air quality stats to arrive at the likely pollution rates in individual areas of a city, he added.

Microsoft's Your Weather app displays this as a colored map. Poor air quality areas appear as red or orange, while clean areas are shown as green.

The app, which is known as "Xiaoyu Tianqi" or "small fish weather" in Chinese, became available on Android two weeks ago, said Jacky Hsu, a program manager with Microsoft. The Windows Phone version, which was launched a few months ago, has 150,000 users. The iOS version will be ready soon, Hsu added.

Microsoft also has a website where users can view air quality forecasts for China.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftmobile applicationsenvironment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?