REAL-TIME ENVIRONMENTAL SENSORS TO IMPROVE HEALTH IN THE SENSING CITY
- 1Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
- 2Canterbury Respiratory Research Group, Respiratory Services, Canterbury District Health Board, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch, New Zealand
Keywords: GIS and Health, COPD, Smart Cities, Environmental Monitoring, Air Pollution
Abstract. The opportunity of an emerging smart city in post-disaster Christchurch has been explored as a way to improve the quality of life of people suffering Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is a progressive disease that affects respiratory function. It affects 1 in 15 New Zealanders and is the 4th largest cause of death, with significant costs to the health system. While, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust can also cause and exacerbate it. Currently, we do know little what happens to the patients with COPD after they leave a doctor’s care. By learning more about patients’ movements in space and time, we can better understand the impacts of both the environment and personal mobility on the disease. This research is studying patients with COPD by using GPS-enabled smartphones, combined with the data about their spatiotemporal movements and information about their actual usage of medication in near real-time. We measure environmental data in the city, including air pollution, humidity and temperature and how this may subsequently be associated with COPD symptoms. In addition to the existing air quality monitoring network, to improve the spatial scale of our analysis, we deployed a series of low-cost Internet of Things (IoT) air quality sensors as well. The study demonstrates how health devices, smartphones and IoT sensors are becoming a part of a new health data ecosystem and how their usage could provide information about high-risk health hotspots, which, in the longer term, could lead to improvement in the quality of life for patients with COPD.