Thursday, July 13, 2017

Korea air quality measurement suspension, July~Aug 2017

A large number of air quality reporting stations around the whole of Korea are down between July and August 2017, i.e. right now. So if your favorite air quality monitoring app/widget has been failing to update lately, it may not be the app's fault.

 Notice of air quality reporting suspension. Image: Air Korea

Air quality measurement devices temporarily out of service

This is according to a notice on the Air Korea website, which is the source of most apps' data (including Google's air quality cards, which are now defaulting to a station several km away from me instead of my local one). 

During this period numerous data stations will be temporarily suspended due to a variety of reasons, including maintenance, upgrades, relocations, etc. Each individual station has its own issue and timeline. Some will be back up and running in a few days, some not until the end of August. Check their post (in Korean) and find your local station, and it will explain what precisely is happening. Note that the notice is grouped by maintenance to be performed, not by geography. Here's the link:

AQICN down

Via Reddit, I could notice that the site, whose app has a nice minimal widget, has lost all data for South Korea. Perhaps it's related to this outage, although Naver, several Korean apps, and even my Google card are still showing updates for the nearest functional stations, so I'm not sure why the AQI site shows nothing. Hopefully it will sort that out and be up soon. 

Replacement app suggestions

In the meantime, try bookmarking Air Korea's mobile site (may need to manually tell it where you are; the GPS location didn't work for me for some reason), or check the Naver air quality card.

If you prefer apps with homescreen widgets, the app 대기오염정보 which has a nice simple widget and alerts for particular sources of pollution. I like it better than most other apps, as the widget gives just simple data, but the app itself will show precisely whats causing the pollution, along with some basic weather data:

대기오염정보 can appear a bit complicated, and it's in Korean.

For a nice and very simple/minimal English air quality app that is working in Korea right now, try BreezoMeter. It gives you just a cute elephant and averages the overall quality (note that they seem to show a percentage scale: 100% is perfect air, 0% is chunky air soup. Mine shows air at 33% right now. Not good). No in-depth pollution details, but if you just want to know, "is today's air quality good or bad?" then this is a good app.

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