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Whee Breathe

An open air quality monitoring platform at WCU
Campus PAII sites

The WCU Purple Air Network

The WCU Purple Air Network was installed in Spring 2022. There are four outdoor sensors and two indoor sensors. The data from these sensors are freely available on the Purple Air site. 

The map to the left as the locations of the sensors in the campus network. Click on the map to the left to view real time data air quality data from these sensors. 

See below for more information about the sensors, air pollution, and health. 

This project is sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Initiative.  


More information

What is Purple Air?

Purple Air monitor

The Purple Air monitor at HHSB

Purple Air is a low-cost (~$250) air pollution sensor that measures particulate matter, temperature, and relative humidity. Particulate matter concentrations are measured by a PMS sensor like the one below using laser light scattering technology. 

Plantower sensor diagram

A diagram of the PMS sensor used in the Purple Air monitor. From Figure 1 of Sayahi et al., 2019

What is particle pollution?

Particle pollution, also called particulate matter or aerosols are suspended units of conglomerated solid and/or liquid material in the air.

A diagram of different sizes of particulate matter.


Sources of particulate matter on campus may include:

  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Cigarette and vape smoke
  • Construction dust
  • Pollen
  • Cooking emissions
  • Wood burning stoves
  • Prescribed burn and wildfire smoke
  • Reactions in the atmosphere from gases released from trees (called secondary organic aerosol)

Click the button below to learn more.

Using the data

There are thousands of Purple Air sensors all over the world. Purple Air utilizes an open source platform and data is freely available to the public. The data can be downloaded for your class project, research question, community need, personal curiosity or any other use.

Click the arrows on the images to the right to see some of the functionality that the Purple Air map has. The Purple Air Map Start-up Guide has more information on how to use the map and data for your purposes.




WCU campus real-time Purple Air data

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Project coordinator: Sara Duncan at

Chief Sustainability Officer and Sustainable Energy Initiative advisor: Lauren Bishop at