Celebrating Earth Day with data and gadgets

Air quality is a nasty problem. It affects the entire ecosystem of planet Earth. But poor air quality can be especially burdensome for people with asthma.

We believe that everyone can make better choices when they’re armed with data. Especially when that data is presented in clear and actionable ways. The folks at AIRNow help make this easier by providing data sources for air quality conditions and forecasting across the country. The AIRNow website does a terrific job of visualizing conditions around the country and providing access to granular data by state and zipcode.

To celebrate Earth Day, we wanted to share a resource that makes it just a little bit easier to access the AIRNow forecasting data. We built a Google gadget that adds your local air quality forecast to your GMail account.

Here’s how to add the gadget:

1. Make sure that you have enabled Gmail Labs.

2. Then enable the “Add any gadget by URL” Lab.

3. Access the “Gadgets” tab inside your GMail settings page.

4. Add the following URL – http://www.propellerhealth.com/gadgets/airquality.xml

We hope this helps people with asthma, but we also hope that this daily reminder raises awareness about our environment in general and keeps us focused – day-to-day – on taking good care of this wonderful place we call Earth. Enjoy!

If you’d like to experiment with the gadget and make it your own, you can find the gadget code on github – http://github.com/gtracy/airnow-googlegadget