AirQo Low-Cost Air Quality Monitor Calibration Challenge
$1 000 USD
Powering up low cost air quality monitors in Kampala, Uganda
276 data scientists enrolled, 161 on the leaderboard
30 April—6 June
38 days

This challenge was orignally launch as a hackathon at DataFest Kampala. It is now open to the whole Zindi community.

Over the past few years AirQo has built up a network of over 50 low cost air quality monitoring devices in Kampala and a further 50 across Uganda. We have designed, refined and improved the devices over time and we think that they are awesome. But low cost devices are only indicative, they are not as accurate as ‘Reference monitors’ (although they only cost 1% of the price) and so to increase the validity of our work we need to calibrate our low cost monitors against the reference monitors to ‘power up’ our results and bring them as close as we can to international reference standards.

We have three locations: Makerere, Nakawa and US Embassy. Each contains a reference monitor collocated with a low cost monitor to allow a comparison over many months that can be used to train and test the model. Some supplementary and metadata has also been included to help things along

The objective of this challenge is to develop a model that will take low cost device data and other supplementary data and transform it as accurately as possible to the reference value.

This model will allow Airqo to ‘power up’ the accuracy of our measured results so they can be shared with the world as reference grade to ensure accurate insights are provided and decisions are made by citizens, government and industry that reflect the true air quality values.

About AirQo (

AirQo is a research project of the Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences. We are committed to using technology to solve social problems across Africa with a current focus on Air Quality. With support from Google we have developed a network of low cost devices across Uganda and are using ML/AI to build forecasting, spatial and now calibration data. We share our insights on our platform, app and website with the aim of raising awareness of the causes and consequences of poor air quality and to provide data driven, actionable insights to reduce air pollution across Uganda and to other African cities.

About DataFest Kampala (


Under the theme “Living with Data“, this year we examine the integral role that data plays in almost every aspect of our lives. Unmissable interaction with data in our day-to-day means that the importance of learning how to leverage that interaction for a better human experience cannot be overstated. From the professional experience to finance, from entertainment to healthcare, Data holds the answers to how to make our lives better.

About Pollicy (


Pollicy is a civic technology organisation working at the intersection of data, design and technology. We provide design consulting to re-engineer civic engagement and participatory processes, technology solutions for communication and research services to better understand what works within each local context. Through new technologies, we bridge data gaps from the grassroots level all the way up to the national level. Our passion is focused on influencing a culture of data use, promoting the use of shared data platforms, building analytical capacity, and advocating for digital rights and improved data governance within the private sector, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and government.