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How We Dramatically Improved Pollen Tracking in 2019

Amir Paster
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When we think about air pollution and the breathing hazards in the air around us, it’s natural to form mental images of traffic, industrial activity and bushfires - these are all common sources of pollution around the world, but pollen is another extremely prevalent air pollutant we should be aware of.

Are You a Seasonal Allergy Sufferer?

You’re not alone.

According to the World Health Organization, many of us are sensitive to pollen;  approximately 10-30% of all adults and 40% of all children worldwide are estimated to be sufferers of allergic rhinitis (or hayfever). What’s more, for allergy sufferers with  respiratory conditions like asthma, exposure to pollen also increase symptoms and the likelihood of an asthma attack. 

This video provides a great overview of the way weather and pollen count factors work together to bring on the allergy symptoms so many of us experience:

 

BreezoMeter’s Pollen Tracking Updates

We think it’s important to give allergy sufferers the information they need to make informed decisions concerning their health when pollen levels are high.

This is why, despite the complexity involved when it comes to pollen tracking, we’ve been working round the clock to bring the following improvements to our pollen data:

1) Brand New Pollen Map 

We’ve introduced a pollen map to our website which means users can stay up to date with current pollen conditions where they are and obtain a forecast for the following 2 days.

Pollen Map 1

Check the Pollen levels

2) More Countries Added! 

We’ve added 16 more countries to our overall pollen-tracking, taking our pollen coverage to 67 countries worldwide, and we’ll continue to expand this list as time goes on:

 

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Mongolia
  • Chile
  • Australia 
  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • Argentina
  • Nepal
  • Ethiopia
  • Pakistan

3) Better Understand Pollen Levels by Plant Type

In addition to current and forecast information, we now show pollen levels according to the 3 main types of pollen emitting-plant: Weed, grass and tree. In many areas, we break this down even further so you can see the sub-types of the plant in question. For example, we provide pollen data for different types of trees such as birch, oak, and maple. 

This level of information helps allergy sufferers to understand not just that the pollen levels might be high or low where they are, but also the particular pollen conditions of the plant they are sensitive to.

4)  Improved Pollen Resolution at the Hyper-Local Level

New South WalesPNG

Pollen is very complicated to measure, and forecast and traditional methods of tracking pollen levels are manual and dated. As a result, most sources of pollen information provide information that is at best, city-level. 

BreezoMeter’s complex pollen algorithm is the result of a number of separate sources and models working together - such as land cover information, dispersion modelling and seasonality components. By making improvements to each of these components over time, our ability to provide accurate pollen counts also improves. 

As such, we’ve dramatically improved the way we represent dynamically changing pollen levels at specific locations. We can now map differences in pollen levels at a resolution of 1 km. 

As part of this improved hyper-local granularity, we can also better report on season start and end dates for specific locations. You can see how this is represented on our map by the differences represented here across the Sydney and New South Wales regions of Australia.

How Businesses Benefit from Integrating Pollen Data

The use cases for businesses looking to integrate dynamic and hyper-local pollen information are clear. 

 

  • Improved insights for research into the correlation between pollen levels, allergy symptoms and medication use. 
  • Increased engagement for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that empower patients and customers with relevant pollen information.
  • Better targeting & stronger ROI for brands wishing to reach allergy sufferers when pollen levels are high.  

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