View Your Sensor on the Map

Once your sensor has been registered and configured to WiFi, it will appear on the PurpleAir map.

If the sensor is registered as public, you can visit the PurpleAir map and find the location it was registered at. You can also use the methods mentioned below to view it.

If the sensor is registered as private, it can not immediately be seen on the PurpleAir map. To view a private sensor, you will need to use a custom link or log in to the PurpleAir map.

Custom Link

This section will discuss the sensor index. You can learn more about the sensor index here: Sensor Index.

After registering a PurpleAir sensor, a registration confirmation email will be sent to the associated and owner’s emails used on the registration form. This email will contain links to view your private sensor on the PurpleAir map. The first link is hyperlinked to the text “visible on the map” near the top of the email. The second link is found titled “View on the PurpleAir map:” under “Useful links:”

Multiple sensor indexes and read keys can be added to custom a URL to customize it to your liking. You can separate items with a pipe ‘|’ symbol. Parameters you can use are “select=”, “show=”, and “key=”.

  • Only one sensor index can be placed after “select=”. The sensor index that follows will be selected.

  • If “show=” is used, only sensors with the specified sensor indexes will be shown, and all other sensors will be hidden.

  • Sensor read keys are placed after “key=”. Any sensors that have these read keys will be shown on the map, even if they are private.

The example URL below will only display three sensors on the map, and hide all other sensors.|171249|39993#13.34/40.52987/-111.91239

Log In

On the PurpleAir map, there is an option at the top to “Login.” Your private sensors will be visible on the map if you log in with the same email address used as the Owner’s Email on the registration form. No account is created in this process.

Currently, only Google-associated email addresses are supported for this feature. You will also need to ensure that the “show my sensors” checkbox is enabled to view your private sensors.

Learn how to associate your email address to a Google account here: Sign in to your Google Account with another email address - Computer - Google Account Help

You can create a Google account with a different email address by going to the Google account creation page and choosing “Use my current email address instead.”

Screen Shot 2023-01-04 at 11.47.57 AM

Still can’t see your sensor on the map?

Learn more information here: Settings a Sensor’s Location
Learn more information here: Troubleshooting Sensor Not Receiving Power
Learn more information here: Map Start-up Guide

This information appears as if it might be useful, but I haven’t been able to get the “read_key=” method to work for accessing a private sensor.

I have an indoor sensor that is private. The link that I was sent during registration contains “key=”. This link goes to the correct location on the map, but it doesn’t show my private sensor. (I also have an outdoor sensor that is public; the map does show that.)

I tried editing the URL to change “key=” to “read_key=”. This had no effect; in fact, all the parameters beginning with “?” disappeared from the URL in the browser’s address bar. Either “read_key=” doesn’t work or I am not understanding how it is intended to be used.

The only way I can view my indoor sensor on the map is by logging in using my Google account. This actually wouldn’t be so bad if I could stay logged in. However, closing and reopening the browser logs me out of PurpleAir. Perhaps PurpleAir could use a persistent login cookie or something to enable users to stay logged in across browser sessions.

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My apologies, I mixed up the API and the map in this article. You will need to use “key=” instead of “read_key=”. I have corrected the article to say that.

I have also included two example links below that may help you create your own. The ‘?’ symbol should only appear once. After that, you will need to use an ‘&’ symbol inbetween parameters.|222222|333333&read_key=1111111111111111|2222222222222222|3333333333333333#13.34/40.52987/-111.91239****************&select=******

I suggest this information gets bumped up to the signup pages.

I signed up with a personal (non-google) account, and then when I tried to use the map it made me sign in with a gmail so I used my ‘junk mail’ one. I don’t want to use a google account to access the service, but I would have made a single-use one if I’d known it was a requirement when registering my sensor.


Hi @dpattee, we see how this would be helpful to have this information more accessible and will look into implementing that. We appreciate the feedback.

However, you do not need a Google account to view your private sensors as you can use a custom link that you save. The only advantage logging in grants is the “View My Sensors” option. We want to add more login options in the future.

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