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Spatial representativeness

The EU Ambient Air Quality Directives require EU Member States to comprehensively assess air quality throughout their whole territory. For this purpose, they define criteria for the macro- and micro-scale siting for the location of such sampling points.

Sampling points shall be sited in such a way as to provide data

(a) on the areas where the highest concentrations occur to which the population is likely to be exposed

(b) and levels in other areas within the zones and agglomerations, which are representative of the exposure of the general population

Such sampling points shall, where possible, also be representative of similar locations not in their immediate vicinity.

The spatial representativeness of sampling points is therefore at the core of setting up monitoring networks. Understanding the spatial representativeness of sampling points is also fundamental when applying modelling techniques to enable point data to be interpreted in terms of geographical distribution of concentration.

In order to improve the comparability and reliability of air quality data, whether measured or modelled, a project on “assessing the spatial representativeness of air quality sampling points” was conducted. This project provided further recommendations on metrics to use to assess spatial representativeness, in particular by

  1. supporting the development of recommendations on methodologies to assess spatial representativeness of sampling points and air quality modelling
  2. collating authoritative air quality and air emission maps, and compile these to bottom-up composition maps of air pollution in Europe
  3. providing support for assessing the application of the criteria for selecting sampling points in Member States, by carrying out an overview of the existing network, notably for traffic and industrial sampling points

The following final deliverables of the project are available here

  • Presentation on Composite Maps
  • Report on Literature Review
  • Report on Composite Mapping Platform
  • Report on Sensitivity and Feasibility Tests for a Tiered Approach
  • Report on Meetings with Expert Stakeholders
  • Report on Application of Siting Criteria and Sampling Point Classification