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

Authors: Maximus Caron*, Arizona State University, Heather Fischer, Oregon State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Human-Environment Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: VGI, Citizen Science, Urban Heat
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


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 Arizona State University’s Knowledge Exchange for Reliance (KER), which is community partnership to utilize data, analysis, and visualization techniques to improve social, economic, and environmental resilience. 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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