Noah Ray is passionate about the environment. After completing his bachelor's degree in environmental science at Washington State University, he wasn't sure what to do or how to help.
He found his way to UNT and discovered his passion for geography.
"I wanted to do something bigger," Noah says. "I realized geography was a way to connect environmental data to people. There are things we can't see, but we can display them on a map and show people the different processes and ecological things that aren't apparent as a human."
While earning his master's degree in geographic information science at UNT, the program allowed him to develop his research in a way that is directly applicable to the community. He used a clever method - his bike - to do it.
"There are these tiny particulates in the air that are released from automobiles and high traffic areas, and we don't even know when it's there because we can't even see it," Noah says.
While it's a big problem for cities, there's only one sensor to measure for it in the entire city -- and that's where the geographical component comes in.
"So, the particulates change within tens of meters and within an hour from a passing truck or construction, so it's important to track it because it's constantly changing," Noah says.
Noah found low-cost sensors that run a fan and it estimates the amount of pollution.
"I put it on a bike, and then I ride around to get the spatial and temporal concentrations, so where you're [physically] at and where in time you're at," he says.
Noah's research helped him place second at the Texas State Geography & Environment Student Research Symposium and win third place at the Southwest Division of the American Association of Geographers conference.
He was also given the opportunity to present his research at the National American Association of Geographers conference and at UNT's Geographic Information Science Day.
Noah then teamed up with the City of Lewisville to process the mobile-monitored air quality reports.
"As a graduate, I've really enjoyed the active learning environment at UNT," Noah says. "People are passionate and come up to me all the time to show me new methods that might help my research."