Mapping environmental data with local help
When most people hear "green tech," they might think of energy-efficient computers or maybe solar panels. But tech--as in information technologies--opens up many new ways to protect the environment. In this Earth Day photo gallery, we offer a few snapshots of where tech is helping protect the Earth, while still recognizing that computing and electronics have a significant--and growing--environmental footprint.
One of the most dramatic ways that the Web has benefited the environment has been with visualization, which gives people a better understanding of the Earth's natural systems and the human footprint on it.
The mapping back end makes this visually appealing, but it's the Web-based social networking that makes it a more compelling application. Microsoft and the European Environment Agency have created a Web-based program that lets people get--and submit--information on environmental quality, including air and water. The site plots data from 1,000 air pollution monitoring stations in Europe and allows people to submit local observations. The goal is to expand the map to monitor several different environmental factors, including air pollution, oil spills, biodiversity, and coastal erosion.
Related story: "Can green tech save the Earth? It won't be easy"
April 21, 2010 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Screenshot by Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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