Using geosocial search for urban air pollution monitoring

Matteo Sammarco, Rita Tse, Giovanni Pau, Gustavo Marfia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


While Twitter and other Online Social Networks (OSNs) or microblogs are considered as a source of information for breaking news or uproarious and unexpected events, they could also be exploited as a dense worldwide sensors network for physical measurements. The corpus of geotagged posts from OSNs includes people's feedbacks about a wide range of topics, with precise temporal and geographical metadata, that can be used as a support or an improvement to hardware sensors. For instance, if collocated people, independently and at the same time, write posts complaining about high temperatures, it could effectively denote a raise of heat in that place. In this paper, we explore the feasibility to use a geographical search on social networks, that is, a geosocial search, about air pollution related posts, as effective air impureness measurements. We evaluate our assumption in large cities over three continents of the planet, where a minimum increment about the number of air pollution related posts in an area, indeed corresponds to a raise of minimum pollution values in such area. Such a correlation can be exploited to integrate and extend existing air pollution monitoring networks. At the end of the manuscript we propose to further employ the time series of posts returned by the geosocial search to predict next pollution values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalPervasive and Mobile Computing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Air pollution
  • Online Social Networks
  • Pollution forecast
  • Text analysis


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