Air quality data is also used in the AirRater smartphone app. AirRater is a free app providing up-to-date, location specific information on particulate (smoke) pollution, pollen and temperature. Users can report their symptoms of asthma, allergies and hay fever. Over time, the app analyses these data and will start to provide personal feedback on what triggers users' symptoms, whether that be smoke, grass pollen or cold weather. This helps vulnerable Canberrans to better understand their triggers, manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Key features of AirRater
- Keep track of your hay fever and asthma symptoms in one place
- Check the air quality at any location
- Set up 'saved' locations so you can quickly view what's happening in areas you visit frequently
- See the location of bushfires
- See how your symptoms correlate with environmental conditions
How does it work?
AirRater gathers the symptoms you’ve entered into the app and matches these with the environmental conditions at the time, building a picture of your potential environmental triggers. How quickly this occurs depends on how many symptoms you enter and whether your symptoms are seasonal or all year round.
Advanced statistical modelling is used to determine this correlation, using a technique called weighted linear discriminant analysis. Each of your symptom reports is used to train the model with a suite of potential environmental triggers you were experiencing at the time, including temperature, pollen and smoke concentration. Times when you did not enter symptoms are also included in the model to provide the background environment experienced.
If the model establishes a good correlation between these triggers and your symptoms, AirRater begins to send you a notification when those environmental conditions are high in your current location or any of your saved locations. This can give you time to get prepared and manage your health. The more symptom reports you enter, the better trained the statistical model will be and the more accurately it will be able to determine your triggers.
When you have entered enough symptom reports, AirRater will build a picture of how your symptoms relate to the environmental conditions where you have been. AirRater features a 'Trigger Lab' that helps you explore the relationship between your symptoms and the environment. You can use this information in consultation with your health professional to work out your specific symptom triggers.