/ Module 2
Introduction to the hackAIR platform

Module 2

Introduction to the
hackAIR platform

This workshop is a hands-on session exploring the hackAIR platform. Participants download the app, create user accounts and explore data, maps and trends available. They will experience how they can contribute data and how these contributions make sense to their lives as well.

Version 1.0 | December 2017


This workshop is a hands-on session exploring the hackAIR platform. Participants download the app, create user accounts and explore data, maps and trends available. They will experience how they can contribute data and how these contributions make sense to their lives as well.

The goal is that by the end of the workshop, participants are ready and enthusiastic for using the hackAIR platform. This means that by the end of the workshop, participants have created a user account, downloaded the app on their phones, looked at the map, indicated different sources and made either a picture or log observation.

Quite a lot to achieve in a short workshop (60-90 minutes), so let’s get started!

2.Tips for facilitation

Keep it (inter)active and tangible.

This module is a hands-on workshop with a focus on using the platform. So make sure that participants explore and use the platform during the session! Set at least two goals/actions that participants will have reached by the end of the workshop and communicate this with them. Make sure the participants leave with a tangible result and are prepared to use the platform themselves. For this, a reliable internet connection at the workshop venue is indispensable. And please make sure the participants bring along their own device/smartphone.

Make participants aware of the purpose and intention of hackAIR.

If we want participants to become active on the platform, it is important for them to have an incentive and purpose for their actions. A short introduction to the purpose of hackAIR is therefore indispensable. If you are interested in more background information we suggest you to take a look at the workshop description of Module 1: Introduction to air quality and citizen science and at our website

Inspire by enthusiasm and experience.

You as facilitator are a key factor in motivating potential users to actively use the hackAIR platform. We advise you to explore the platform and contribute to air quality measurements yourself before the workshop.

3.Overview of the workshop


2)hackAIR: Why? How? What? Short introduction hackAIR purpose + air quality challenges

3)Action 1 & 2: download app + create user account

4)Exploring the platform 1: map, user possibilities

5)Action 3: edit your profile

6)Exploring the platform 2: data sources

7)Action 4: picture or log observation

8)Exploring the platform 3: further possibilities

9)Next steps / individual actions

4.Full description of the workshop


Slide 1: Cover slide

Slide 2, 3, 4: Introductions and programme

Introduce yourself. If applicable, lead a round of introductions (share your name and one reason you’re interested in air quality and/or what air quality / citizen science apps have you used before). Briefly introduce the purpose and programme of the workshop

4.2.hackAIR: Why? How? What?

This section informs participants about the functionalities and added value of the hackAIR platform. How do we as hackAIR contribute to better air quality? What functionalities and activities can you use/do to contribute?

Slide 5 - 8: The hackAIR platform

Slide 9: User benefits

Allow participants to zoom with their neighbours about this question. What is the added value of hackAIR for me? How can I use better data in my daily life, my work, my action group, my campaign...? As facilitator you can give some examples for inspiration:

  • If you like to exercise outside, you can use the data provided by the platform to determine whether the air is healthy for exercise.
  • If you look after children, the hackAIR platform provides you with information when best to play outside.
  • If you suffer from respiratory problems, up to date air quality information helps you to better plan your days and activities.
  • If you work with a local action group on better air quality in your city, you can use the measurements collected in your city for dialogue with public authorities and campaign.

More examples of benefits for users can be found here:

4.3.Action 1 & 2: download app + create user account

Slide 10: Action 1: download the app

Slide 11: Action 2: create user account

Before we dive deeper into the hackAIR platform, participants need to have access to the platform to explore. Allow some time for participants to download the app and create a user account. Introduce this shortly with pictures / give a live example. Participants can work in pairs to help each other.

Another option is to ask participants to download and install the app beforehand. For this option it is essential to add the necessary information to the announcement and send a reminder to participants a couple of days before the workshop.

4.4.Exploring the platform 1: map, user possibilities

Slide 12: Explore the map

Together with the participants, check the map of your city. What is the current air quality? Does that correspondent with your own observations? Also take a look at the air quality history. Check last week, last month(s). Invite the participants to share their first reactions: What do you see? What is remarkable?

In case there isn’t a lot of information available for your city yet, you can also show the map of another city in your country.

Slide 13: Opportunities

Allow some time for participants to explore the platform. Afterwards collect: what possibilities do they see? What features do they want to try out? Are there already any questions?

Let participants share their findings in pairs first. Then collect in plenary.

4.5.Action 3: edit your profile

Slide 14: Edit your profile

hackAIR is an interactive platform. Besides providing real-time information on the current status of air quality, the platform encourages people to actively participate in monitoring, share with like-minded users and receive personalised recommendations. To make use of these features, an up-to-date and detailed user profile is important. In this section, participants have the chance to edit their profile.

Give an example of your own profile (or pick a profile of an active user) and schedule time for participants to edit their profile. As facilitator you walk around to give suggestions and ask questions.

We suggest to point out

  • that participants can choose to get customised notifications for special needs (pregnancy/respiratory diseases/outdoor sports);
  • that you can choose to follow people (and join a community) to measure air quality together.

4.6.Exploring the platform 2: data sources

Slide 15: Data sources of hackAIR

Now it is time for participants to explore the data sources in their environment. Make new pairs. Give participants the assignment to list at least three different sources in your city and search them on the map. Are there any official measurement points close by? Any active users in the neighbourhood? Are there hackAIR sensing devices around? What other sources are used? Gather some sources in plenary at the end.

4.7.Action 4: Picture or log observation

Slide 16: Upload a photo

Now that participants have an idea of the possibilities of the platform, you as facilitator invite them to contribute to air quality measurements in their city. The best and easiest way to do so is to take a picture of the air. For this the sky has to be clear and participants should have the possibility to go outside. If these conditions are not available, choose the second option and let participants report their perception of the air quality by log observation.

  • If you are using pictures: Make groups of three. Give a timeslot and motivate the participants to go outside, take a picture of the sky and upload it through the platform. As facilitator, indicate one location where you’ll be available for questions. When the participants come back together in the room, collectively take a look at the map and see what is happening with the data sources (or inform participants about how they can get notified about what happens with their data).
  • If you are logging observations:Allow some time for participants to think about the current air quality. What was the air like when they came to the venue? Is it possible to walk outside and guess the quality? Make groups of three and ask all participants to log their air quality observation. When all observations are logged, show the sources on the map.

4.8.Exploring the platform 3: further possibilities

Slide 17: Possibilities of the platform

This is an optional section. It might be that you as facilitator would like to encourage participants to contribute in a certain way to the platform, use detailed information for community action or share the outcomes in a certain way. Feel free to explore these possibilities together with the participants.

It might also be the case that certain features that you like about the platform haven’t been discussed before. This is the chance to show them and motivate participants to use them.

Some proposals for further possibilities are:

  • “Edit profile” -> participants can create a secondary profile for a beloved one (e.g. child with asthma, elderly, etc.) and receive notifications.
  • The facilitator can create a community in the platform and ask from participants to contribute measurements there.
  • Follow other users on the platform

Slide 18: Cardboard sensor

Introduce the hackAIR cardboard sensor as an additional tool to measure air quality. If possible, make sure you have all necessary materials on hand so that participants can take home their own hackAIR cardboard sensor:

  • Empty drinks cartons, cut into 5x5cm squares
  • Petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline)

Slide 19: Feedback on the software

As hackAIR we are interested in receiving feedback from users, and participants may be interested in giving it. As facilitator you can ask participants to write down feedback/wishes for the next version of the software. These inputs will be used for future improvements.

4.9.Next steps / individual actions

Slide 20: Next steps

This is the final workshop stage. How will you use the platform in the coming days? Hand out post its and invite participants to write down and share one action they will do in the coming week. Collect the action of all participants (do not forget to ask them to write down their name). Monitor their user behaviour in the coming week. For this you might want to create a community in the platform. Make sure to cheer their actions and/or send a gentle reminder after a week.


A PowerPoint presentation / template to accompany this workshop module is available at