Partner Profile: PurpleAir

OpenAQ
2 min readFeb 14, 2024

*** Amendment: Due to reasons beyond our control, OpenAQ no longer has access to PurpleAir data as of March 11, 2024. PurpleAir’s API pricing model is incompatible with OpenAQ’s operations. We thank PurpleAir for sharing their data for free with us for more than 4 years. ***

In OpenAQ’s early years, we focused exclusively on aggregating data from government-run reference-grade air quality monitors. Expanding the data we host from reference monitors remains a top priority. But when our community of users began requesting data from air sensors — instruments that are more compact, portable and affordable than reference monitors — we took the request seriously. We agreed that air sensors play a critical role in engaging and arming communities with actionable information and in filling in data gaps across the world. We put feelers out to potential air sensor data partners in 2020 and, in January 2021, began sharing air sensor data from launch partners Carnegie Mellon University, Environmental Defense Fund, HabitatMap, and our largest partner to date, PurpleAir, a company that deserves the highest kudos for positive disruption in the air quality monitoring landscape.

PurpleAir is well known for a reason. PurpleAir sensors are used by everyone from concerned citizens and community-based organizations to governments and universities to private companies. PurpleAir is community-oriented. They acknowledge and interact regularly with their customers through an active community forum and by supporting collaborative monitoring projects.

PurpleAir’s blog series answers common questions people have about air quality and highlights collaborative projects. Our favorite blog is the PurpleAir origin story, How a Simple Question Grew into PurpleAir, because it describes how a simple idea, once executed, can have a transformative impact, and demonstrates that great companies can be built with humility and around community.

A few additional PurpleAir blogs are highlighted below, each shedding light on different facets of PurpleAir’s collaborative work:

By sharing data with OpenAQ, PurpleAir has enabled a great deal of scientific research, helped even more people understand what’s in their air, and spurred collective action towards cleaner air.

We thank PurpleAir for their open data ethos and their partnership with us since we first began hosting air sensor data.

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OpenAQ

We host real-time air quality data on a free and open data platform because people do amazing things with it. Find us at openaq.org.