Tracasa develops the European Air Quality Index application for the European Commission and the European Environment Agency

After the success of the Web version, on which the Navarrese public company has been working since 2017, the new mobile application, simple and user friendly, will distribute information on air quality across our continent to the general public.

Tracasa has developed the EuropeanAir Quality Index (AQI) mobile application under its framework contract with the EC’s Directorate-General for the Environment and the European Environment Agency. After the success of the Web version, on which the Navarrese public company has been working since 2017, the new mobile application, simple and user friendly, will disseminate information on air quality on our continent to the public at large.

The mobile application, available for both the iOS and Android platforms, was rolled out yesterday in Madrid at the EU Clean Air Forum by Florika Fink-Hooijer, the head of the EC’s Directorate-General for the Environment, and Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. On hand at the event were Moisés Zalba, Tracasa’s Director of Operations, and María Cabello, Commercial and International Business Development Manager of the Navarrese company.

As part of its framework contract with the EC’s Directorate-General for the environment and the European Environment Agency for the 2020-2024 period, Tracasa does environmental data consultancy, compilation and design work with information from 38 European states. On this project it worked in cooperation with the Navarrese company Biko to design the mobile application’s final look.

«With the evolution of the AQI’s website format over the years, and its success as a tool for environmental information and awareness, the new mobile application, with Biko’s excellent contribution, constitutes a step forward in terms of accessibility, consultation and usability,» stressed Zalba, along Tracasa’s line of «advancing with innovative solutions that contribute to the public sector’s digital transformation».

The work carried out by Tracasa in recent months – with a team including Miguel Villafranca, Mikel Azpilicueta (Ibertech), Igor Trébol, Rubén Razquin, Sara Domínguez, David Rivero, Iván Pérez, Josu Ramírez and Iratxe Orbe – allows users to view, on their mobile phones, air quality data collected by more than 4,500 stations throughout Europe and combined with other sources, such as the CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service).

The mobile application was created with the aim of establishing it as a reference point for air quality data in Europe, and of informing the public about air pollution and the actions being taken to improve air quality. «It is also relevant to provide citizens with information to reduce their exposure to polluted air, so that they can make decisions about their outdoor activities, with an emphasis on vulnerable people; in addition to serving as a gateway to access information about other environmental issues», explained Ramírez, head of the Software Engineering and Spatial Data Analytics area at Tracasa.

Meanwhile, Mikel Irujo, the Government of Navarre’s Minister of Economic and Business Development, and President of Tracasa, underscored the project’s «‘made in Navarre’ technological development, and the territory’s capacity to work abroad,» while celebrating that «in the context of the two-fold ecological and digital transition, this tool is a good illustration of how technology and digitization are put at the service of institutions and citizens, providing a benefit; in this case related to the environment and health».

Founded in 1990 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the EEA is a European Union body whose main task is to provide high-quality, independent information on the environment. Thus, the AEMA is the main source of information for those overseeing the development, approval, execution and evaluation of environmental policies, and also for the public at large.

Tracasa signs a contract for 6.4 million euros with the European Environment Agency and the European Commission

Between 2020 and 2024 the public company of the Government of Navarra will render services involving environmental data consulting, compilation, design and dissemination, with information from 38 European states

Tracasa recently signed a contract for 6.4 million euros with the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment. Between 2020 and 2024 the public company of the Government of Navarra will carry out environmental data consulting, compilation, design and dissemination services with information from 38 European states.

Among the tasks to be carried out by Tracasa, which also carried out this work between 2013 and 2020, is the maintenance and updating of the Discomap infrastructure (the EEA’s map service platform) and the standardization, design and dissemination, through interactive maps and graphics, of about 100 data streams covering different topics related to the environment, such as air, water, emissions, the climate and biodiversity.

Image of a virtual meeting of the project team. From left to right, in the top row, Iratxe Orbe Fernández (Tracasa), Víctor Villar Etxeondo (Tracasa), Ion Ruiz Iragi (Tracasa), Josu Ramírez Mariezcurrena (Tracasa) and Irune Badiola Uriarte (GIS Studies). In the second row, Sara Domínguez Serrano (Tracasa), David Rivero Ramos (Tracasa), Amaia Martínez Echeverría (Tracasa), David Ramírez Domínguez (Tracasa) and Álvaro Martínez de Lagos Espinosa (GIS Studies). In the third row, Naroa Iriarte Cárdenas (Tracasa), Esther Mata Pérez (Ibertech), Rubén Razquin Hernández (Ibertech), Mikel Rodríguez Manderson (Tracasa) and Mikel González Gainza (Tracasa). In the fourth row, José Alfredo Aznar Montesinos (Ibertech), Koldo Goñi Iza (Tracasa), Lander Uzquiano Valle (GIS Studies), Igor Trébol Araiz (Tracasa) and Miguel Villafranca Artieda (Tracasa). Finally, in the bottom row, Susana Guevara Arenas (GIS Studies) and Vicente Urdánoz Melado (Tracasa). Enrique Muro Arbizu (Tracasa Instrumental) is missing from the image.

Numbers, examples and relevance of the project

This work entails managing massive quantities of data. In this regard, Tracasa has been developing, as part of this framework agreement with the EEA and the European Commission, numerous computer solutions, including the European Air Quality Index map, with the data collected by 4,500 stations in Europe, the maps of the Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe, maps and dashboards tracking emissions from more than 30,000 industrial facilities on the continent, and ecosystem maps for European countries.

Image of the European Air Quality Index map, with its access link.

Department of Territorial Information Systems Director Moisés Zalba Almandoz highlighted the importance of this contract for the company, with 23 people assigned to the project full time: 15 from Tracasa, 1 from Tracasa Instrumental and 7 from two supplier companies; of these 4 are from GIS Studies and 3 from Ibertech: “Working for four more years for the EEA and the European Commission is gratifying, since it is the third consecutive time that we have won this contract, competing with the best European consultancies, and also a challenge, as it forces us to use very advanced technologies, such as machine learning in air quality time series”.

The EEA: facts and functions

Founded in 1990 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the EEA is a European Union body whose main task is to provide robust and independent information on the environment. Thus, the AEMA is the main source of information for those overseeing the development, approval, execution and evaluation of environmental policies, and also for the public at large. Data processing within the EEA is highly automated and, for this purpose, software packages feature FME (Safe Software), ArcGIS Server/Desktop/Online (Esri), Tableau, Microsoft SQL Server, Python and C#. In addition, for certain data processing, more and more Cloud computing systems (Microsoft Azure) are being used, and expert support is required to develop robust and automated computing solutions that can support the entire workflow.

Image of one of the maps of the Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe and its access link.