651 Mapping Heat Vulnerability in Maricopa County, Arizona, with the HeatMappers Volunteer Science Program

Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Grace Valandra, Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ; and H. Fischer, P. Solis, Q. Zhao, E. Wentz, and C. Higgins

One of the prevailing environmental factors in Maricopa County is the heat of summer. Extreme heat events can trigger a variety of heat stress conditions and exacerbate existing health issues. This paper focuses on HeatMappers, a volunteer science project that collects microclimate data (air temperature and relative humidity), location data, and activities from volunteers and examines heat stress in vulnerable populations seeking utility assistance in Maricopa County during summer. This program was developed by the Knowledge Exchange for Reliance (KER) and launched in the June 2018 and will continue until September 2018 with additional data collection next summer. The Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, housed at Arizona State University, is a community partnership to utilize data, analysis, and visualization techniques to improve social, economic, and environmental resilience. The goal of the Knowledge Exchange seeks is to create a smart data platform and integrate resilience data collected from community stakeholders, social media, citizen science, and local and federal authoritative organizations to identify and mitigate resilience threats to Maricopa County of Arizona.

HeatMappers recruits volunteers from vulnerable populations - specifically those who seek assistance with paying utility bills - to track their heat exposure both qualitatively and quantitatively with GPS and temperature/humidity sensors, social surveys, and activity logs. This citizen science program along with other aspects of the Knowledge Exchange (including social network analysis, and the collection and analysis of authoritative data and data from community partners) is used to characterize the social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities of individuals who apply for utility assistance in Maricopa County, Arizona. With this knowledge and understanding, we can develop mechanisms to reduce the heat vulnerable population in Maricopa County and help citizens relieve long-term heat threat in Maricopa County. This paper will focus on the development of HeatMappers and data we collected from the summer of 2018, including survey results and analysis of the temperature and location data.

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