GASPer Air Monitor

Background

In 1996, GASP received a grant from the Howard Heinz Foundation to purchase an educational monitoring system available for school and community use.  The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) developed the guidebook that GASP uses. There are now several similar programs in several other states.

Thank You to the Grable Foundation

Thanks to a generous grant from the Grable Foundation, GASP was able to purchase a new air monitor in 2007 to ensure that this valuable program can continue.

The GASPer Air Monitor Program

The GASPer Air Monitor Program gives middle and high school students as well as teachers the opportunity to learn about the components of a natural resource that surrounds all of us, the air.  The monitor, aka “GASPer,” monitors for the following air components:

  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Extremely low frequency radiation
  • Barometric pressure
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Temperature

The physical sensors capture, display and store accurate scientific data.  The data logger, to which all the sensors are connected, can collect data as often as every second.  Pre-configured and pre-calibrated, the collection of data is as simple as turning on the data logger and pushing a button to begin collecting data.  Data can then be downloaded and displayed on a laptop computer (also provided by GASP) that connects to the GASPer.  The GASPer is suitcase-sized, portable, easily set up by students, and can run on its own battery.

The monitor enables users to generate reports and graphs based on the data collected. Maximum, minimum, and average values are calculated, as well as the standard deviation over the sampling period and the number of samples which exceeded a pre-set value, such as an EPA limit.  Participants are provided with associated guidebooks and background information too.

Hand-held particulate monitor                                     

In addition to the GASPer, we also provide our hand-held particulate monitor for use by the students.  The SidePak Personal Aerosol Monitor is lightweight and portable.

How Can I Become Involved?

The GASPer is primarily available for middle and high school students, but anyone that is interested should contact GASP.  Typically teachers and their students can borrow the GASPer Air Monitor equipment, software, and texts for a one or two-week period of time.  Training will be provided by trained GASP staff, and technical assistance is always available.  Delivery and pick-up are also provided.  Check out highlights of student experiments from past “Air Congresses” below.

Contact For More Information

For more information or to schedule use of the GASPer Air Monitor, contact jamin@gasp-pgh.org or call 412-325-7382.

Cost?

GASP asks for a $50/week donation from each participating school, to help cover the cost of transporting and maintaining equipment.

Past Air Congresses

Air Congress 2002
Air Congress 2000
Air Congress 1998
Air Congress 1997

In the News

Air quality monitoring in Braddock, PA where 1 in 4 children have asthma.

GASP and the GASPer Air Monitor were featured on Greenworks for Pennsylvania, a multimedia resource for communities at work to improve our environment.

“Quaker Valley teen wins top honors: Students keep tabs on quality of the air,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 17, 2002.