The U.S. EPA's AirNow program
is a successful model for communicating air quality conditions and forecasts to the public. It has become the national resource and focal point for decision makers, the media, and the public to access air quality information. Its success has inspired several countries to express interest in the U.S. AirNow system, so AirNow-International (AirNow-I) was initiated to create a suite of new software that can be deployed in various countries and enhance the U.S. domestic program. The new system is based on a decade of STI's scientific and software engineering staff experience. The main goals of AirNow-I are to:
- Promote international environmental data exchange.
- Adhere to the standards of the Global Earth Observations System of Systems framework.
- Foster international collaboration and knowledge exchange.
AirNow-I was successfully launched in Shanghai for the 2010 World Expo and continues to be operational today. Since 2010, AirNow-I has expanded to Zhejiang Province, China, and Monterrey, Mexico City, Guanajuato, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Under the U.S. EPA's direction, STI will complete a web-based version of the software suite in 2017 to facilitate worldwide expansion of AirNow-I.
AirNow-I has many features that enhance air quality management, including:
- Automated processing, quality control, and product generation of real-time data for streamlined distribution of air quality information.
- Enhanced capabilities (maps and data, such as air quality indices) that enable decision makers to quickly respond to air quality-related events.
- Regional data exchange among adjacent cities, provinces, and countries.
- Improved understanding and awareness of air quality issues and cooperation among air quality agencies worldwide.
An independent study
conducted by the Center for Technology in Government in 2011 examined the AirNow-I Shanghai Program and presented it as a model of successful collaboration between countries conducting joint information technology projects.