ArcNews Online

Fall 2007

GIS and GPS Help Isolate Problem Areas

Addressing Ambient Air Pollution in Jakarta, Indonesia


  • Sampling data was mapped with ArcView.
  • GIS was used to describe and visualize the current air quality conditions.
  • GIS helped efforts to define and resolve the problem.

Air pollution is a problem in big cities, including Jakarta province, the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. The pollution is due to increased human activities, population growth, the increasing number of industries, and transportation. Monitoring of ambient air quality parameters, such as total suspended particles (TSP), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monitrogen oxideide, hydrocarbons, and lead, in Jakarta indicates that the condition is concerning.

  click to enlarge
Ambient air quality sampling locations in the DKI Jakarta area.

Transportation is the main source of ambient air pollution in Jakarta, which has 10 million people. It is larger than any other municipality in Indonesia with 15,000 people per square kilometer. According to the Statistic Central Agency, the number of vehicles in Jakarta in 2003 was 3.4 million motorcycles, 1.99 million passenger cars, 467,000 trucks, and 392,000 buses. Meanwhile, oil fuel consumption increased. In 2003, oil fuel use was 68 percent of total energy consumption. In 2004–2005, the demand for gasoline in Jakarta rose, resulting in increased air pollution. Ambient air pollution has a significant impact on the health and economic sectors. Health care costs increase by US$3.8 million per year. On average, people have only 18 "good air" days in a year. In 2004, 46 percent of all illness cases in Jakarta were respiratory related.

Recent Measurements

In June 2006, the Center for Health and Status Ecology Research and Development, National Institute of Health Research and Development, Ministry of Health, conducted research on this pollution. The aim of the study was to measure pollutant concentration, including TSP, nitrogen oxide, and lead. The measurements were conducted at 25 sampling points in five cities—West Jakarta, North Jakarta, Central Jakarta, East Jakarta, and South Jakarta. TSP was measured using a high-volume sampler, and nitrogen oxide was measured using a gas sampler. Lead concentration was measured using the atomic absorption spectrum. Sampling locations were chosen based on the density of vehicle traffic, and the measurement period was 24 hours at each sampling point. The sampling locations were recorded in GPS and moved to an attribute table to be visualized on a map using ArcView. The map also included information about the density of people in relation to building density; location of parks, which help minimize pollution; and road information, such as major roads and artery roads.

Data was mapped in two categories, threshold and upper threshold. The upper thresholds were defined as TSP concentration higher than 230 micrograms/m3, the standard quality determined by the government; nitrogen oxide concentration higher than 92.5 micrograms/m3; and lead concentration higher than 2 micrograms/m3.

The results show that the TSP and lead concentrations at some sampling points were upper threshold. Meanwhile, the nitrogen oxide concentration at all sampling points was under threshold. Specifically, TSP concentration ranged between 74.07 and 416.26 micrograms/m3, nitrogen oxide concentration ranged between 23.61 and 55.36 micrograms/m3, and lead concentration ranged between 0.00 and 3.88 micrograms/m3. The highest TSP concentrations were found in Central Jakarta and East Jakarta, which was consistent with Central Jakarta being an office area and East Jakarta being an industrial area.

The main purpose of the GIS was to describe and visualize the data, showing the current air quality conditions. The visualization and analysis of data using GIS are very useful for environmental researchers and the government, quickly providing pollution information and locations, and helping with the evaluation of air pollution reduction strategies in Jakarta.

As a result of this study, the government has carried out various efforts to overcome the problem, including producing the integrated Local Strategy and Action Plan for Urban Air Quality Improvement in DKI Jakarta, 2006. The action plan has focused on implementation of lead phaseout and low sulfur and on development of public transportation to decrease the number of private cars.

More Information

For more information, contact Zahra Shahab, environmental researcher, National Institute of Health Research and Development, Ministry of Health, Indonesia (e-mail:, or Agus Rachmat, Biostatistics Division, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 2, Jakarta, Indonesia (e-mail:

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