SkySnapper was created at Space Apps London to measure air quality by snapping photos of the sky. Crowd-sourced sky images are mapped to assess air pollution by sky color to spot polluted areas and monitor progress over time. This project solves the My Sky Color challenge.

This project is solving the My Sky Color challenge.


Snap the skies clean with SkySnapper!

The Problem

The World Health Organisation estimates that 7 million deaths per year are linked to air pollution, one in every eight deaths globally. In China alone, each year 500,000 deaths are caused by air pollution. There are 300 air quality monitor sites in the UK and approximately 5000 National, State and Local Air Monitoring Stations in the US, but more DATA and more public ENGAGEMENT are needed to track air pollution and build supporters in the fight against air pollution.

The Solution

SkySnapper is an exciting new online service that engages the public on the topic of air pollution and gets them actively involved in tracking pollution, without needing any specialised equipment. All that's needed is a smartphone or camera and internet connection.

YOU CAN HELP by becoming a SkySnapper! Send in your photos of the sky using our SkySnapper iPhone App or our website. We will then analyse your picture to assess the colour of the sky, which gives an indication of the levels of pollution in the air. For example, a light blue sky can indicate the presence of sulphur in the air, possibly from a coal-burning power station. Learn more about sky colours in our Sky Zone. You will be able to see your snap's analysis, and explore the interactive map to discover the most (or least) polluted areas of the world and see how air pollution levels change over time.

We've built our website using Google's AppEngine platform so we're confident it can scale to handle global demand and remain responsive. We're also providing developer tools so that enthusiasts can build their own air quality monitoring stations to send consistent snaps to our servers, allowing us to better analyse changes over time.

The Future

We are already working to improve SkySnapper. What started as a 25-hour hackathon project has built momentum with an enthusiastic Twitter outreach campaign and we are working on a roadmap of improvements that will:

  • increase the quality of our analysis and feedback

  • enrich our results with data from other services (such as Aeronet, AirPi and MET Office WOW)

  • allow submission of photos from other devices (e.g. from Android smartphones, and possibly Google Glass!)

  • bring gamification features to increase the incentive for people to "collect" sky photos (e.g. badges, leaderboard)

  • provide guidance to developers on how to build an automated SkySnapper (e.g. based on a RaspberryPi with Pi camera)

The Team

All consultants from PA Consulting's IT Delivery Practice, the team consists of -

  • Ben Noble - Mobile solution developer

  • James Shepherd - Web services developer

  • George Buckingham - Web front-end developer

  • David Stanton - Mobile developer

  • Finlay Edridge - Consultant and social media

Project Information

License: GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License version 3.0 (LGPL-3.0)

Source Code/Project URL:


Sky Snapper -
SkySnapper @ Twitter -
Sky Snapper @ Facebook -
Sky Snapper @ Vimeo -


  • Finlay Edridge
  • David Stanton
  • Ben Noble
  • George Buckingham
  • James Shepherd