Psychometry is a very efficient tool in many cases to deal with the problem of odours in a community. The psychometry is the evaluation of the odour complaints distribution by mean of questionnaires given to the people of neighbouring areas. The statistical analysis of the answers given by the neighbours is an starting point and it can help to design a campaign to measure odours by any other method.

The psychometry can give us answers such as:

  • The time-intervals when there is a maximum of complaints.
  • The location of the most problematic areas.
  • The possible source of the odours.
  • The odours with a less accepted hedonic tone by the community..

  The psychometric evaluation is a very effective tool, widely used in many countries (R. Cervinka et al., 2004, E. Gallmann et al., 2004). In Germany there is a norm that specially deals with the psychometric assessment, this is the VDI 3883.

  The Psychometric analysis is quite convenient as a screening study when the purpose is to measure odours by any other method such as field inspections, field olfactometry or dynamic olfactometry + dispersion model, however, this step is often forgotten in many odour studies.

 

Notes:

In New Zealand there is a very interesting norm based on a Psychometric analysis. + info there

 

odorant sensors

   Recent developments in the technology of odours have carried out the emergence of new devices mainly for odour monitoring. These systems were previously known as electronic noses or "e-noses", however this term in incorrect because these devices do not have a sense of smell, which is a human thing. A more correct term would be odorant sensor or o-sensor. In some cases the term "o-sensor" would be maybe too restrictive as it would exclude some other instruments for odour monitoring such as Gas Chromatograps for example.

   The primary application of these instruments is to generate odour metrics that are relevant indicators for the presence and attributes of odour as would be perceived by human observers.

   A benefit of instrumental odour monitoring systems is that they can be used for continuous measurement.

The aim of field inspections is to register the odours immediately recognized under real field conditions.

The main idea of field inspections is to estimate the degree of annoyance in a determined problematic area by means of the olfactory capacities of a group of people (or panel) specially trained and "calibrated" for this purpose. To this effect, the study area is divided in smaller assessment squares and the people of the panel is sent to the nodes of this squares at different times of the day and in a determined order to allow the most diverse conditions. Anytime a person of the panel reach a node, smells the air and take notes of odour parameters (Intensity, hedonic tone, etc.), weather conditions and some other data on site.

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