Public Lab Wiki documentation


600 views | Last edited by imvec about 1 year ago | #15794

« Back to Air Quality

"The most accessible and sophisticated environmental monitoring equipment is made available to most humans in the forms of noses, eyes, tongues, ears and skin". Sara Sage.

This page collects resources to keep track of bad odor events for further investigating their origin and their potential effects on people. The presence of bad odor events usually means the presence of hydrogen sulfide, methane and other dangerous gases. Keeping track of them and investigating their origin is important for health and safety.

Odor Log 1.0

You can use the Odor Log 1.0 to keep track of the events just using paper, pen and your nose. Use these steps as guidance:

  • Download a printable log
  • Coordinate with some neighbours to simultaneously track the bad odor events in different points of your neighbourhood/town.
  • Decide the length of the monitoring. Take at least a 2 week long record if the events are on a daily basis. If events are for example, once a week, consider taking a longer log.
  • Note on the log every day even if there's no bad odor event.
  • Take a picture of every page of your log pages or scan them.
  • Then send the files with the results to your local authorities, perhaps with carbon copies to some newspapers and the EPA or the environmental authority in your state or country. Doing this, a record of your public complaint will be kept in several entities and mail servers.

Using the Odor Log 1.0 you can go from an undefined "there are lots of bad odor events in my area" to a documented "we've counted xxxx number of bad odor events located in A, B, C, and D places"...

Online Odor Log 1.0

Based on the Odor Log 1.0 you can follow the same protocol (coordinate - decide - monitor) using the Online Odor Log v1.0 developed using the Free Open Source software Ushahidi for real time reporting, and share bad odor events in your area.

Visit the map and explore collected data at

Adding a launcher to your phone

You can also create an Android or iOS launcher for your mobile phone. Just visit the survey url and bookmark it using Chrome or Safari. Click on "add to home screen" or " create launcher". You'll get a new launcher on your phone so you'll be able to report an event in your area just with one click.


Documents and manuals about odor detection, identification and monitoring can be found on many sites on the web. Please feel free to add your findings.


Ask a question  or help answer future questions on this topic


Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Research notes

Title Author Updated Likes
How can I start a project on environmental air quality around crop dusting areas @lubcarreon 2 months ago
How to Describe Odors Using FIDO, illustrated by Sara Sage @joyofsoy 3 months ago
How to Use a Transect, illustrated by Sara Sage @joyofsoy 3 months ago
Taking Action: Odors in Court @joyofsoy 3 months ago
Putting Odor Issues on the Map: Using citizen science to curb odors in the EU @joyofsoy 3 months ago
Novel Methods for Assessing Industrial Odors @joyofsoy 3 months ago
Are there any charts useful for describing the way pollutants smell? @stevie 8 months ago
Building a case against Aluf Plastics -- polluting my town & I need help @michaelwma 9 months ago
Has odor ever been used against an industry in court? @stevie 9 months ago
Citizen log v1 @imvec about 1 year ago
Website for public data @ottinger about 1 year ago
Advice for real-time monitoring @ottinger about 1 year ago
The fight to get out of Pascagoula @stevie about 1 year ago
Leaflet Environmental Layers Library @sagarpreet over 1 year ago
Online Odor Log v1.0 @imvec over 1 year ago
Community-level Odor Mapping Site @sarasage over 1 year ago
What is an easy-to-use phone app for public to record air quality issues? #air #app #tech @zengirl2 over 1 year ago
Odor Log 1.0 @imvec over 1 year ago
List of electronic nose projects @imvec over 1 year ago
Registro de olores @imvec over 1 year ago
Training in odor identification? @sara almost 2 years ago
"...when the hydrogen sulfide concentration reaches approximately 15 ppm, the human nose becomes desensitized" @warren almost 8 years ago
Show more

Public Lab is open for anyone and will always be free. By signing up you'll join a diverse group of community researchers and tap into a lot of grassroots expertise.

Sign up