Logo of Citizen Science Initiative

enviroCar & Citizen Science

Use enviroCar to investigate the impact your driving has on environmental factors, such as fuel consumption, CO2, or noise emissions. Compare your driving statistics with friends and compete to become the most efficient driver while reducing your car’s running costs! Share your data with the enviroCar citizen science community and collaborate with others to investigate questions such as:

  • What are the spatial characteristics of fuel consumption in your city?
  • How can traffic planning be optimized to effectively reduce emissions?
  • What can we learn from average speed maps?
Help create a unique source of information and use it to improve and implement concepts for sustainable mobility.

enviroCar counts on YOU! Join the community and help make our world a little smarter.

The enviroCar Platform

enviroCar is an open platform for Citizen Science projects in the field of sustainable mobility. Citizens, scientists, traffic planners and industry collect and analyze car data and share their findings.

It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s fun - it’s open source! Access the car’s sensors with your Android smartphone and a Bluetooth OBD-II adapter. The free enviroCar app provides information about your car and your driving characteristics. By uploading the data to the enviroCar server you agree to publish it as anonymized open data. As a scientist or traffic expert, you access the data easily via the enviroCar website and use it to answer questions in the field of mobility and environment. Use ArcGIS online to tell the community about your projects and to share your ideas, insights and conclusions with people all over the world.

The architecture of enviroCar
An ODB II Adapter

OBD II Adapter

enviroCar uses standard Bluetooth OBD-II adapters, such as the Drivedeck Sport. Plug in the OBD-II adapter, connect it with your Android smartphone using Bluetooth, start the enviroCar app and off you go collecting data for a new track!

The enviroCar app

The app talks to the onboard computer, records your route (track) and automatically gives you information about speed and revolutions per minute and calculates additional information, such as fuel consumption, estimated fuel cost and CO2 emissions.

Screenshots of the enviroCar app
enviroCar is a project of Partners are Global Sponsor
  • This project is sponsored by Esri - the Environmental Systems Research Institute - as a global sponsor (Esri Inc, Esri Germany).
This project is open for additional partners, researchers and developers. Contact envirocar@52north.org.

enviroCar Supporter

There are many enviroCar enthusiats who are committed to the enviroCar idea and support the project in a number of ways.

In particular, enviroCar thanks the students of the Institute for Geoinformatics at the Münster University whose concepts, developments and activities laid the corner stone for the enviroCar platform.

Special thanks goes to those “First Supporters” and “First Contributors” of the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign who provided financial support for the start of the project: Thomas Bartoschek, Hermann-Peter Berlekamp, "Professorship of Geoinformation Systems Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Technische Universität Dresden", Johannes Brauner, Andreas Brenk, Martin Düren, Christian Elfers, Theodor Foerster, Holger Fritze, D. Gueneysu, Ann Hitchcock, Pierre Karrasch, Rob Lemmens,Lovecars.com, Michi6, Tino Miegel, Daniel Nüst, Christian Paas, Lea Remke, Domink Schlarmann, Hansi Senaratne, Christoph Stasch, Martin der Techniker, xydiari

As a Citizen interested and engaged in research (Citizen Scientist)

All you need is an Android smartphone (version 2.3 or higher), a Bluetooth OBD-II adapter, and a car, which supports the ODB-II standard. Plug the adapter into the OBD-II socket in your car (check the web for your car type and socket position) and pair it with your smartphone following the adapter’s instructions.

The enviroCar beta app is available for Android 2.3 - 4.4. Download it from Google Play, install it on your smartphone, test it and enjoy. Use the app to register for enviroCar, check your settings, register your car type, select the bluetooth device and start collecting your first tracks.

Upload your data to the enviroCar server, use the website to explore the maps & statistics, and connect with friends and groups. Discuss issues related to mobility and environment based on enviroCar data with your friends, researchers and experts from public authorities. Develop your own ideas on how to increase mobility, improve sustainability and reduce negative impacts on the environment.

As a Scientist

Are you interested in using the enviroCar platform and its data for research projects? We recommend you start as a citizen scientist (see above) and get familiar with the enviroCar platform, its data and its features. If you’re interested in the data “as is”, download the data via the download facilities to your computing environment for further analysis.

If you would like to share your questions and comments with all enviroCar users and project groups, join the public enviroCar forum.

If you have special requirements and think about joint citizen science projects or other activities with 52°North you’re invited to contact the enviroCar team at 52°North directly.

As a Public Authority

Would you like to raise awareness about mobility and environment among “your” citizens? Would you like to have citizens actively discuss this topic and stimulate the development of a comprehensive understanding of the subject?
Would you like to actively involve “your” citizens in the creation of new concepts and sustainable developments in the field of mobility and environment?

Use the enviroCar platform as a basis for citizen science projects with researchers, domain experts and the citizens in your region. We’d be glad to provide you with any support needed.

If you’d like to contact all enviroCar users and project groups with your questions and comments, join the public enviroCar Forum.

If you have more detailed questions regarding the enviroCar platform, the parameters, the data quality, methods and technologies, or if you have special requirements and think about joint citizen science projects or other activities with 52°North you’re invited to contact the enviroCar team at 52°North directly.

As a Developer

Would you like to develop an application and use the enviroCar platform as a public data source? Check out the enviroCar APIs and software at Github. You’ll find an easy to use REST interface to the enviroCar server, which provides you with free access to the data.

We heartily invite you to join the enviroCar developer community! Subscribe to the enviroCar Forum and receive the latest infos concerning the development process and upcoming features.

Where do I get an OBD-II Adapter?

There are many OBD-II adapters available on the market. Prices range from 15 EUR, for low cost Chinese imports at eBay and Amazon, up to 90 - 200 EUR for high quality systems from specialized suppliers. Please be aware that, in Europe, certain certificates are required when trading those products (CE) and when using them in cars while driving (ECE). Other countries may have additional legal requirements. Currently, the Drivedeck W4 adapter seems to be the only one equipped with all certificates required in Germany. Please check national regulations to be sure that the adapter of your choice can be used without restrictions in your country.

Please be aware that we are not able to guarantee that all combinations of smartphones/adapters work well. The enviroCar community maintains a matrix of working combinations here. Please report your experience regarding smartphone/adapter combinations to the enviroCar forum or send a message to the enviroCar Team at 52°North .

Is my car supported?

The presence of an OBD-II interface within today’s cars is mandated by law in the US, as well as Europe.

In the US, all cars built 01.01.1996 or later are equipped with an OBD-II interface.

In Europe, the following vehicles are equipped with an OBD-II interface:

  • All cars with a gasoline engine built 01.01.2001 or later and with a EURO-3 norm (or better)
  • All diesel vehicles built 01.01.2003 or later
  • All trucks built 01.01.2005 or later

What about privacy issues?

The track data you upload to the enviroCar server is protected by a number of measures. Only you and users you have added as friends can view your track data. You and your friends must log in with a password to access this data.

The tracks are also available to others as anonymous open data, i.e. any reference to the user - you - is inaccessible. Of course, all communication between website/app and the enviroCar server is encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.

Furthermore, the app enables you to conceal the start and destination of your tracks, as long as you have not deactivated this function. This is achieved by cutting off the first and the last 250 meters of each track, or the distance, which was driven within the first and the last measured minute. This function prevents the linkage of tracks to specific home addresses or business addresses.

How can I contribute as a developer to enviroCar ?

enviroCar is a community based project and you are heartily welcome to contribute as a software developer. enviroCar is completely open source - all components are avalaible in our Github Repository.

A Web API enables you to download/upload data and use it to create information products, such as maps or statistical analyses. The data is publicly available as JSON and as Linked Data, which makes it possible to flexibly include enviroCar’s data in any services.

Please contact the enviroCar Team at 52°North to clarify any further questions.

What is the current state of enviroCar?

enviroCar is currently in an open beta phase. We are still in the process of developing and refining the software, and are looking for people who are willing to test it and provide us with valuable feedback. Please let us know if you like to become a beta tester, contact the enviroCar Team at 52°North!