Louisville Air Map

Louisville Air Map

Last fall, Insider talked to Puneet Kishor, manager of science and data policy at Creative Commons, a global nonprofit that collects and shares information with limited or no copyright restrictions. He was in Louisville to meet with local tech types, nonprofits and artists about a new art installation in downtown Louisville that makes invisible air pollution visible.

That installation debuts on Thursday at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets.

The piece will take real-time data from 25 air quality sensors placed all around the city and display the real-time levels of particulate matter and carbon monoxide in the air on an interactive art installation. The six sensors currently online can be seen at louisvilleairmap.com (look for the orange dots and click on one to see the current air quality data).

The “Air Bare” installation will use a touchscreen display and bubbles to relay the data in an orange powder-coated steel kiosk. It is an interactive gaming piece as well.

The public is invited to the dedication of the installation at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, at Fourth and Liberty. A host of local and national organizations had a hand in the piece and will be represented at its unveiling, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Creative Commons and IDEAS Louisville.

The project also has enjoyed the support of Rebecca Matheny, executive director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership; Sarah Lindgren, the city’s public art administrator; and philanthropist Christy Brown.

“Common people feel left out of data,” Kishor told Insider in November. If they’re disengaged from policy-making, he says, it’s easy for them to become apathetic. This project is meant to “collect and communicate data from people, and then share it with the people the data is about.”

In the spirit of Creative Commons, Kishor said every bit of this project will be “open,” and other cities and entities are free to replicate it, reuse it and improve upon it.