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Function to import meta data for air quality monitoring sites. By default, the function will return the site latitude, longitude and site type, as well as the code used in functions like importUKAQ(), importKCL() and importEurope(). Additional information may optionally be returned.


importMeta(source = "aurn", all = FALSE, year = NA, duplicate = FALSE)



One or more air quality networks for which data is available through openair. Available networks include:

  • "aurn", The UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network.

  • "aqe", The Air Quality England Network.

  • "saqn", The Scottish Air Quality Network.

  • "waqn", The Welsh Air Quality Network.

  • "ni", The Northern Ireland Air Quality Network.

  • "local", Locally managed air quality networks in England.

  • "kcl", King's College London networks.

  • "europe", European AirBase/e-reporting data. There are two additional options provided for convenience:

  • "ukaq" will return metadata for all networks for which data is imported by importUKAQ() (i.e., AURN, AQE, SAQN, WAQN, NI, and the local networks).

  • "all" will import all available metadata (i.e., "ukaq" plus "kcl" and "europe").


When all = FALSE only the site code, site name, latitude and longitude and site type are imported. Setting all = TRUE will import all available meta data and provide details (when available) or the individual pollutants measured at each site.


If a single year is selected, only sites that were open at some point in that year are returned. If all = TRUE only sites that measured a particular pollutant in that year are returned. Year can also be a sequence e.g. year = 2010:2020 or of length 2 e.g. year = c(2010, 2020), which will return only sites that were open over the duration. Note that year is ignored when the source is either "kcl" or "europe".


Some UK air quality sites are part of multiple networks, so could appear more than once when source is a vector of two or more. The default argument, FALSE, drops duplicate sites. TRUE will return them.


A data frame with meta data.


This function imports site meta data from several networks in the UK and Europe:

By default, the function will return the site latitude, longitude and site type. If the option all = TRUE is used, much more detailed information is returned. For most networks, this detailed information includes per-pollutant summaries, opening and closing dates of sites etc.

Thanks go to Trevor Davies (Ricardo), Dr Stuart Grange (EMPA) and Dr Ben Barratt (KCL) and for making these data available.

See also

the networkMap() function from the openairmaps package which can visualise site metadata on an interactive map.

Other import functions: importADMS(), importAURN(), importEurope(), importKCL(), importTraj(), importUKAQ()


David Carslaw


if (FALSE) {
# basic info:
meta <- importMeta(source = "aurn")

# more detailed information:
meta <- importMeta(source = "aurn", all = TRUE)

# from the Scottish Air Quality Network:
meta <- importMeta(source = "saqn", all = TRUE)

# from multiple networks:
meta <- importMeta(source = c("aurn", "aqe", "local"))