Low-cost air quality sensors can be used to examine the spatial and temporal variability of air pollution, provided that users make sufficient effort to quality control the collected data. STI published a study in the journal Sensors that examined the precision of 19 low-cost AirBeam sensors that were used as part of an STI project that monitored and determined the spatial variability of particulate matter (PM) in Sacramento, California.
Prior to and after the study, the 19 sensors were deployed and collocated at a regulatory air monitoring site, and demonstrated a high degree of precision. A sensor-specific correction factor was developed to ensure each sensor reported a comparable value. The AirBeam sensors also had a moderate degree of correlation with regulatory monitors. The collected measurements were used to estimate the spatial variability of particulate matter between environmental justice (EJ) and non-EJ communities, and the results showed no significant difference in average concentrations between the communities.