From the toasty sands of the Sahara Desert to the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, pretty much everything Google Street View has mapped is proving to be spectacular.

Google, however, continues to find new uses for its street mapping system. And now, instead of taking 360-degree pictures of everything it can, Google Street View is now mapping that which the eye cannot see.

Google has partnered with Aclima, a San Francisco-based startup that develops environmental sensors to map street-level air quality in a project conducted with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NASA.

The project was conducted in Denver, Colorado, where three of Google's Street View cars were equipped with Aclima's sensors as they cruised around the city streets collecting information about the particles floating in the air. Specifically, the cars collected 150 million data points over 750 hours of driving time looking for information about the levels of hazardous chemicals such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, methane, ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), among others.

The data collected during the month-long test builds upon the information already collected by the EPA's stationary sensors network, which provides guidance for developing and implementing air pollution regulation. However, while the EPA's data is limited to the quality of air in certain areas, the Street View maps provides people a clearer sense of the air quality in most places.

"Many things affect air quality - everything from our transportation and energy choices to green space and the weather," Davida Herzl, cofounder and CEO of Aclima, says. "Understanding these complex relationships is critical to managing and improving air quality. The Denver test prepares us for scaling the system and introducing Aclima's mobile sensing platform to communities anywhere Google Street View vehicles drive."

Herzl says that the information gathered through mapping air quality can help urban planners design cities that provide better air for its citizens to breathe. For instance, when we know where nitrogen dioxide, which is easily absorbed by trees, is abundant, that is where urban planners can put up a lot of green spaces to absorb the substance.

This is not the first time Google has partnered with Aclima, as the Internet search firm also uses environmental sensors to track the quality of air inside its 21 office buildings. Both companies also plan on moving their air quality mapping endeavors to San Francisco in the near future.

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