AQVx and AirRater

September 20th, 2021

The Air Quality Visualisation System (AQVx)

AQVx is a web-based smoke visualisation system designed to support fire, air quality and health practitioners to make informed decisions on managing smoke.

AQVx integrates modelled data from joint Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (AQFx), and international smoke forecasting systems with a wide range of observational data to provide the best possible range of information about current and forecast smoke movement. 

AQVx also provides researchers with a tool to assess the accuracy of smoke dispersion models. 

AQVx was originally developed for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DEWLP) as a collaboration between DEWLP, CSIRO, UTAS and the Bureau of Meteorology. The National Prototype Smoke Forecasting Project (funded by the Department of Home Affairs) has provided funding to substantially upgrade AQVx and expand its scope to the whole of Australia in 2021/22. 


AirRater is a free smartphone app developed in 2015 by the University of Tasmania. The app provides location-specific and near real-time air quality, pollen and temperature information, in addition to symptom tracking functionality.

AirRater experienced an upsurge in usage during the 2019/20 Black Summer, when many people were seeking trustworthy, close to real time air quality information. A survey of users after the fire shows that many people used AirRater to make decisions and take action to reduce their exposure to smoke [Campbell et al. 2020].

As part of the National Prototype Smoke Forecasting Project, AirRater will play two key roles:

1. AirRater will be the public-facing dissemination tool for AQVx. AirRater draws readings from air quality monitoring networks in all states and territories. For locations >20km from a monitoring station, AirRater uses an estimate from atmospheric modelling. From October 2021, this model will be AQFx.

2. AirRater will use crowd-sourced smoke observation and smoke-related symptom data to support AQFx validation and the AQVx visualisation system.