AirQuis: A modern air quality management system

AirQUIS represents the main tool for establishing and integrating the different components of the AQMS. AirQUIS is the air pollution module of an Environmental Surveillance and Information System (ENSIS), developed by NILU in co-operation with other institutions. The system has been established and operated in several cities and urban areas world-wide. It received the European IT prize in 1998, and is being further developed and improved for a variety of applications.
Main objective

A main objective of the modern environmental management system is to enable direct data and information transfer and obtain a remote quality control of the data collection. The system must:

  • Provide information on how much pollution the population is exposed to,
  • Establish a basis for strategies to reduce pollution,
  • Estimate environmental impacts from present and future developments.

One of the main challenges in today’s society is to have timely and appropriate access to relevant and good quality environmental data. The aim is to enable actions whenever environmental requirements and limits are violated. These were the challenges that a group of scientists faced when e new generation of GIS based monitoring and planning system was to be developed in Norway.

The AirQUIS technologies are now being used in environmental management to support integrated pollution prevention and control. It can also be part of an emergency management system to support actions and crisis management during emergencies and accidents of various kinds.

AirQuis: A modern air quality management system

The total Air Quality Management Strategy (AQMS) system contains modules for Air Quality Assessment, Abatement Measure Assessment, Cost/benefit analyses and Optimum Abatement Strategy identification. The enforcement of the abatement/control strategy for improving air quality should be based upon the most cost effective measures.

The environmental information system will have to combine the latest sensor and monitor technologies with data acquisition; data base developments, quality assurance, statistical and numerical models and advanced computer platforms for data processing, as well as distribution and dissemination of data and model results.

A GIS based planning system

The modular total surveillance and information system, which have been developed in Norway, are based on a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as an important platform for the collection of data and presentation of the results.

The systems combine the latest sensor and monitor technologies with data transfer, data base developments, quality assurance, statistical and numerical models and advanced computer platforms for processing, distribution and GIS based total environmental planning tool is built on sub modules including:

  • A main database,
  • An automatic data acquisition system included quality assurance (ADACS),
  • Emission inventorying and numerical models
  • Impact assessment and
  • Internet based data distribution.

Users requirements

Users will have individual requirements ranging from simple measurement to full-scale abatement strategy planning. The content and complexity of the GIS based monitoring and planning system application may strongly depend upon the users’ requirements. Typical options may be:

  1. A simple monitoring programme with user-friendly solutions for data handling, statistics and presentation of results.
  2. A complete “Air Quality Management System” (AQMS) providing environmental management solutions based on combined monitoring and modelling for areas where air quality improvement is required to comply e.g. with air pollution standards and regulations.

The AQMS modelling concept will require activities in the following fields:

  • Air pollution generating activities and emission inventories
  • Monitoring of air pollution, meteorology and dispersion
  • Modelling air pollution concentration distributions
  • Inventories of population, materials and urban developments
  • Exposure assessment and impact evaluation
  • Effects of abatement/control measures
  • Abatement measures evaluation
  • Establishing/improving air pollution regulations
AirQuis: A modern air quality management system


The basic concept for an Air Quality Management Strategy (AQMS) contains the following main components:

  • Air Quality Assessment
  • Environmental Damage Assessment
  • Abatement Options Assessment
  • Cost Benefit Analysis or Cost Effectiveness Analysis
  • Abatement Measures
  • Optimum Control Strategy

The Air Quality Assessment, Environmental Damage Assessment and Abatement Options Assessment provide input to the Cost Benefit or Cost Effectiveness Analysis, which is also based on established Air Quality Objectives (i.e. guidelines, standards) and Economic Objectives (i.e. reduction of damage costs). The final result of this analysis is Optimum Control Strategy.

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