Friday, February 29, 2008

Google Maps Saving the Planet

Both Global Voices and Programmable Web have recently looked at how environmental activists are using web 2.0 tools to bring attention to environmental concerns. It is no surprise that Google Maps plays a central role in many of the examples that both examine. Here is a quick run-down of the web sites mentioned in the Global Voice and Programmable Web articles that utilise Google Maps (and a couple that they missed):

Explore our Planet is a Google Map with a huge number of layers which can be turned on or off. The map doesn’t exclusively highlight environmental concerns but some of the layers, such as the CO2 Emitter, Nuclear Power Plants and Population are of interest to anyone with an interest in the environment.

Terra Pass allows anyone to check the amount of CO2 emissions of a airplane flight before they take it. The map has an intuitive interface. You just enter your start location and end location and your flight is plotted on Google Maps and the CO2 emissions of the flight are calculated. Entering a city will automatically display the list of available airports which is useful, especially if a city has more than one airport.

If you decide that the plane is too environmentally damaging Carbon Emissions Commute is a Google Map that let’s you evaluate the impact of your automobile travel instead. Users enter start and end locations and the map works out the driving directions, the distance to be travelled, the likely gas consumption, the cost of the gas used and the pounds of carbon dioxide that will be released.

Mibazaar has a couple of environmentally themed maps. The Climate Change 2030 Map looks at the likely effect of global warming on sea levels. It shows images of US coastal locations now and how they are likely to look in 2030 after a 5m sea level rise.

Mibazaar’s Most Polluted Cities Map tags the ten most polluted cities in the world and explains how they came to be so polluted.

Flood Maps also looks at the effects of sea rises on the world. Unlike the Mibazzar map it allows you to adjust the level of sea rise so you can examine the effect of different levels of sea rise on the planet.

The Greenspace Carbon Emission Map plots carbon emissions in the UK. The map can be searched by location and by different causes of carbon emission. You can therefore examine whether the carbon emissions of a particular area are caused mainly by domestic combustion, industrial combustion, road transport etc..

Google’s UK Carbon Footprint Project is an iGoogle page that allows UK citizens to calculate and plot their own carbon footprint. The page includes a user contributed map. Anyone can add themselves to the map and inform the world of their carbon footprint.

The Green Hotels Map highlights hotels around the world that are trying to lessen their environmental impact or carbon footprint. Clicking on the hotel tags on the map opens a information window which includes a photo of the hotel and the hotel’s address.

Via: Global Voices - Using Web2.0 tools for Environmental Activism

Programmable Web - Environmental Activists Discover Mashups
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