Smoke Measurement Surveys

​​​​​​​General information

Smoke measurement surveys have been conducted by EPA Tasmania on cold, calm nights, in a number of Tasmanian towns and communities, to collect data on particulate concentration from smoke from domestic wood heaters. These data provide a 'snapshot' of the smoke distribution in a town, and also will help in the determination of population particle–exposure.

An EPA Tasmania-designed car–based smoke–measurement instrument (Travel BLANkET) is used to map the spatial distribution of smoke. The system is based on a DRX DustTrak, calibrated as for the BLANkET units. For more background and technical information about Travel BLANkET refer to BLANkET Technical Report 31. Descriptions of specific surveys can also be found in other BLANkET Technical Reports​.

 BLANkET Technical Report 31 - Overview of the BLANkET smoke monitoring network (PDF 8Mb)​

Notes on the survey data​​

  • The PM2.5 data are taken with a DRX DustTrak, as used in the BLANkET stations, that has been calibrated by EPA Tasmania specifically for woodsmoke;
  • The individual PM2.5 concentrations (as shown at the highest zoom level) are for the date and time of the measurement ONLY and do not indicate an average over time;
  • Surveys are typically conducted during the early to late evening, sometimes extending to early morning, on cold, calm nights, and hence represent peak smoke levels rather than day-averages;
  • Smoke from given chimney can be transported some distance and still remain at high concentration. Hence the presence of a high-concentation PM2.5​ measurement adjacent to a particular property does not necessarily mean that the property was the source of the smoke;
  • The national air quality standards for PM2.5 are an annual standard of 8 micrograms/m3 and a 24-hour standard of 25 micrograms/m3. There is no shorter-term health-based standard. The Tasmanian Department of Health uses a 1-hour health-advisory level of 25 micrograms/m3 as a cautionary level for sensitive people. The smoke survey measurements are effectively an instantaneous PM2.5 value, and currently cannot be related to a health-based standard. 

Smoke survey data via the LISTma​p portal​​​

PM2.5 data from the annual winter surveys are available on the Tasmania Government LISTmap site for the years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017​.​ Zoom in to the area of interest to see the full resolution of the measurements. Clicking on an individual data point shows details of the measurement.

Alternative view: 'Aggregat​​ed' smoke survey data via a webmap

(This option may be easier to use if you are using a smartphone or tablet rather than a PC.)

PM2.5 data from the winter surveys are also available in a web map format for: 2017 (Launc​eston only)​, 2017 (excluding Launceston), 2016,​ 2015, 2014, 2013​​, ​2012,​ 2011 (all surveys),​ 2011 (Deloraine only).​

Due to the large number of measurements generated in a survey, the data on the webmaps are displayed as 'aggregated' points. (i.e. A number of data points are collected, or aggregated, into the one displayed value.) As you zoom in to more detailed views the number of points aggregated into a single symbol decreases, as the aggregation is based on a spatial scaling.

Please note that larger circles represents larger numbers of (aggregated) survey points, NOT higher concentration of PM2.5. The PM​2.5​ concentrations are represented by colour only. In general, zoom in to see individual survey points. However, if the vehicle was stationary for some time these data are likely to still appear aggregated, even at the highest zoom levels. 

Wood heater and open fireplace use​ in Tasmania

In 2011 EPA Tasmania commissioned a home-heating telephone survey to provide information on wood heater and open fire use in Tasmania.

Links to the raster in LISTm​ap for wood heaters in 2011 for the following towns and surrounding areas: Burnie, Somerset,  Wynyard,  Ulverstone, Devonport, Latrobe,  Westbury, Longford, Hadspen, Perth, Beaconsfield, Georgetown, Beauty Point, Weymouth, Launceston, New Norfolk, Hobart, Glenorchy, Bridgewater, Richmond, Cambridge, Sorell, Midway Point, Kingston, Huonville and Geeveston.

Links to the raster in LISTm​ap for open fires in 2011 for the following towns and surrounding areas: Burnie, Somerset, Wynyard,  Ulverstone, Devonport, Latrobe,  Westbury, Longford, Hadspen, Perth, Beaconsfield, Georgetown, Beauty Point, Weymouth, Launceston, New Norfolk, Hobart, Glenorchy, Bridgewater, Richmond, Cambridge, Sorell, Midway Point, Kingston, Huonville and Geeveston.