Environment

Louisville’s “Smart City” data initiative now includes a new collaboration with IFTTT, a web and mobile platform. The initial offering will let users sign up to receive alerts when the city’s air quality changes.

Louisville’s air quality data is already available in real-time online. But using IFTTT’s system, users can sign up to have that data sent in a variety of ways. You can get an alert through email, text, or the team messaging system Slack. You can also integrate Louisville’s air data with other “smart home” products — like smart light bulbs — and tell your lights to change color when the air quality becomes unhealthy, for example.

“There’s a lot of value that we see in this partnership with IFTTT. It allows people to be flexible and platform-agnostic with city data,” said Louisville Metro Government designer Matthew Gotth-olsen.

And when people are given information about city data in real time, without having to seek it out, they can make choices based on that information. On days when ozone levels are high, people with asthma might want to skip their morning jog. Others might put off mowing the lawn to avoid contributing to the high pollution levels.

So far, Louisville is the first city to make its data available through IFTTT.

“IFTTT is thrilled to have the city of Louisville join the platform,” founder and CEO Linden Tibbets said in a statement. “We believe that cities harnessing their own data can create countless possibilities for their residents. Louisville is leading the way in this regard. We look forward to partnering over the next months as they add more and more to their service.”

Gotth-olsen said Louisville’s new partnership is only an exploratory step in the process of figuring out how to get more data to the public.

“We’re trying to evolve what it means to be a good government, how we can serve people in a more equitable fashion with technology, and really empowering our citizens,” he said. “So we’re looking for feedback, partnerships; we’re trying to grow this and really understand how we can serve our citizens even better than we have in the past.”

To check out the new ways to access Louisville’s air data, visit IFTTT.com, sign up for an account and search for “Louisville.”

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.