Texting service to receive current air quality conditions and maps, powered by AirNow, Twilio, and AWS
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Air Quality Bot

The Air Quality Bot is generally available by texting a zip code (and optionally the word "map") to (415) 212-4229. The bot will respond with the latest air quality report for your region.

The instructions below illustrate how to similarly setup the bot in your own AWS and Twilio environments.

Getting Started

AWS Initial Setup

Create a new Role from a Policy with the following permissions:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"

Install and configure the AWS CLI for the same account for which the Role was created.

AWS Lambdas

Initialize the deployment environment by running make install locally, then edit the .env file's AWS_ROLE with the ID of the Role created above and the AIRNOW_API_KEYS list with one or more AirNow API keys.

Note that, on initial deploy, your Lambdas will be pointing to the an endpoint that does not exist until you complete the AWS API Gateway Routes section below and update the AIR_QUALITY_API_URL variable to point to the deployed endpoint.

Deploy the Lambdas to your AWS environment using the deploy script:


Optionally, TTL for ZipCode fields in the DynamoDB table can be enabled by going to the AWS console and enabling TTL on the TTL field.

AWS API Gateway Routes

Create an API Gateway. In the API, do the following:

  • Create a new "Resource" with a path of /inbound
    • Create a new "POST" method with the "Integration type" of "Lambda Function" and point it to the Lambda AirQuality_inbound_POST
      • Edit the "POST" method's "Integration Request"
        • Under "Mapping Templates", add a "Content-Type" of application/x-www-form-urlencoded using the "General template" of "Method Request Passthrough"
      • Edit the "POST" method's "Method Response"
      • Edit the 200 response so it has a "Content type" of application/xml

Last, under the "Integration Response" for /inbound, edit the 200 response. Under "Mapping Templates" of "Content-Type" of application/xml with the following template:

#set($inputRoot = $input.path('$'))

Additionally, create the following "Resource" paths:

  • /aqi

Under each of the above, do the following:

  • Create a new "GET" method with the "Integration type" of "Lambda Function" and point it to the Lambda AirQuality_<ROUTE_NAME>_GET, where <ROUTE_NAME> corresponds to the name of the Lambda we created to execute on this method
    • Edit the "GET" method's "Method Request"
      • Change the "Request Validator" to "Validate query string parameters and header"
      • Add a required "URL Query String Parameter" of zipCode

Under the "Integration Request", under "Mapping Templates" of "Content-Type" of application/json, put the following template:

    "zipCode":  "$input.params('zipCode')"

Deploy the new API Gateway. Note the newly generated Invoke URL and update the AIR_QUALITY_API_URL variable in .env, then redeploy your Lambdas by running ./deploy.sh again.

Setup Twilio

In Twilio, create a phone number and set it up. Under "Messaging", select "Webhook" for when "A Message Comes In", select "POST", and enter the deployed API Gateway URL for /inbound.

That's it! Your bot is now setup and ready to respond to texts.

Travis Build

If you would like the project to build for you in Travis (or similar), you may need to add the following environment variables to the CI's console. Their actual values do not matter (use dummy values, not real), but certain versions of the boto dependency need them to be present when initializing its configuration.


Deploy Updates

After the initial installation in to your AWS environment, updates to the Lambdas can easily be redeployed at any time by rerunning the deploy script: