“We developed the virtual air quality guide together with Stereoscape as part of the UIA HOPE project. Collaboration with Stereoscape was smooth and easy – professional work both in planning and throughout implementation. I was especially impressed with their initiative, which made it possible for me to concentrate on my own area of expertise in the experiment.”
Project Manager, Forum Virium
Residents of Helsinki
3D illustrations and simple animations, text content
Link to real-time air quality data, website links
Clickable hotspots and other navigation tools
Bespoke interactive online solution
Available from the user’s web browser
Can be embedded into a website
Accessible on computer, smartphone or tablet
Air quality affects our environment, health and wellbeing. People are increasingly interested in the quality of the air they breathe and ready to take action for cleaner air. To empower the residents of Helsinki to be the owners of their air quality, The City of Helsinki launched the HOPE project – Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone – that is funded within the EU’s Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative. HOPE focuses on producing new air quality data and promoting its innovative use at district and community level. Air quality is monitored in three Helsinki districts with different types of air quality challenges. Teaming up with local residents and enabling active participation are important elements of the project.
As part of the HOPE project, the city ran an innovation competition with the aim of finding new digital solutions related to air quality. The competition was organised by Forum Virium Helsinki, the City of Helsinki innovation company that works with businesses, scientific communities and residents to develop digital and data-based urban solutions to make Helsinki the most functional smart city in the world. A virtual air quality guide designed and built by Stereoscape was one the winners of the competition.
The theme of the competition was ‘Innovations4Interventions’. The aim was to drive further inclusion and participation at grassroots level and strengthen measures to improve the city’s air quality. Special attention was given to the use of state-of-the-art technology. Stereoscape took up the challenge by developing an interactive online solution that brings together a wealth of air quality information in one place in an easy to understand format. The virtual air quality guide features a 3D visualised city map with clickable hotspots that open up interactive information on different topics, with useful tips and advice on how residents themselves can influence their local air quality.
This was not the first time we were working on a solution that helps people learn about air quality and its impact on their everyday lives. We had earlier built an AR application where invisible air particles – or aerosols – are made visible via augmented reality. This time, our objective was to bring air quality information to life as interactive, visually appealing content in order to make it readily accessible, more user centric and personally relevant. The purpose is to encourage people to actively contribute to better air quality – instead of being passive recipients of disconnected data or passively following recommendations. The information in presented in small, bite-sized chunks that are easy to digest. The content is organised in layers, from overviews to deeper details, to allow users to choose the right level for them. The information architecture helps make sense of the content but also promotes scalability: it’s easy to add new content to the virtual guide.
The guide is intended for all residents. Particular emphasis was placed on clarity in visual and interaction design – being inclusive by being as clear as possible for everyone. Easy navigation enables quick access to relevant content, and interactivity helps convey the large amount of information without overwhelming users. To make the content even more relevant, the guide is linked to real-time air quality data. The three target districts of the HOPE project and the special features of these areas have also been taken into account in the guide design.
Click here to explore the virtual air quality guide (in Finnish) or take a look at the video below for a short presentation of the guide.