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South Coast Air Quality Management District Expands Mobile App Capabilities

Users can submit air quality complaints, with photos, directly from a smartphone

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The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is responsible for improving the air quality for 17 million people in California, including large areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The district launched two new features for its award-winning phone app: a more robust compliance reporting function and a tool that lets constituents search for local sources of air pollution regulated by AQMD.


The new reporting feature allows users to quickly submit air quality complaints, including photos, directly from a smartphone. Constituents can then easily track the status of submitted complaints through each stage of the process.

The second feature provides easy access to AQMD’s F.I.N.D. (Facility Information Detail) tool, giving the public the ability to search for local sources of air pollution regulated by AQMD. Searchable information includes facility permit status, violation history and annual emissions information.

The mobile app has nearly 60,000 user installs and a feedback rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, with users expressing how indispensable the app has been in their daily routine. The public has frequently asked for easier ways to track air quality complaints and local facility information. With these enhancements to the mobile app, the public can fully engage with the district’s services on mobile devices.

AQMD has received positive feedback from the public and members of its governing board about the convenience of being able to file and track air quality complaints in the same app they use to check local air quality and plan activities. There has also been positive feedback from the public regarding the ability to quickly locate facilities when they notice potential air quality issues.


AQMD recommends laying both the cultural and IT foundation for continuous improvement of any mobile app. The initial deployment of the mobile app and multiple community meetings helped pave the way to directly serve and solicit feedback from residents. It’s important to continuously respond to user requests through refined processes and expansive system capabilities. This practice of direct responsiveness will also help build credibility with business users who can see the benefits of improved communication with residents.

IT leadership at AQMD promotes a “no fear of failure” mindset. Willingness to accept failure helps to bolster the relationship between the organization and the community and create a collaborative and innovative culture.

The new complaint filing feature leverages cloud-based architecture, which provides superior uptime and scalability during high demand periods, such as major odor events. The facility search feature specifically uses Esri’s ArcGIS Online cloud as the central point to query and locate facility-related information. Enterprise-level data is processed and transformed within the cloud for multiple access channels. The hub-and-spoke architecture of the data delivery system ensures the accuracy and consistency of the air quality information being delivered to the public.