Using social media data to track health and wellbeing impacts of pollen and air pollution


We have started work on a new ESRC funded project which will develop and evaluate prototype “social sensing” tools that use social media data to monitor environmental triggers (pollen and air pollution) for asthma and hayfever. We aim to help build the evidence base for the feasibility of the use of social sensing in an operational context.

The work is funded through the third phase of the ESRC‘s Big Data Network and is a New and Emerging Forms of Data Policy Demonstrator Project. The project is led by Dr Hywel Williams from the Department of Computer Science at Exeter University. We are working in collaboration with Public Health England, the Met Office and AsthmaUK.

The aims of the project aims are to:

  1. Engage the stakeholder community to co-create a prototype social sensing platform to track health and wellbeing impacts of pollen and air pollution
  2. Evaluate the potential utility of the social sensing prototype in a variety of policy-facing scenarios relating to environment and health
  3. Investigate ethical concerns around social sensing, in particular, fairness and privacy


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