Greener maps

Friday, September 7, 2007 at 3:45 PM



We love it when you put our products to work to help the environment. Individuals and organizations have come up with all sorts of creative ways to create maps that highlight the causes that they care most about, and we wanted to recap just a few cool examples from this summer.

In June, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation released a layer for Google Earth that tracks pollution from industrial locations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Another Google Earth user did the same for Australia using the country's National Pollutant Inventory. Do you know where to find pollution data for your own country?

If you're interested in alternative energy, the San Francisco Solar Map shows the locations of solar installations around the city. We also found this great wind power assessment tool that calculates wind speeds at a given location, intended to help with planning wind farm installations. And in British Columbia, an individual mapped water licenses governing hydroelectric power generation. This layer publishes the locations where power companies intend to divert rivers and streams in order to generate electricity, inspiring discussions about the pros and cons of different energy sources.

One last cool thing: Walk Score created a map to show people what's within walking distance of residential areas. So if you're thinking about moving, you can easily see how you'll be able to cut down on trips to the gas station.

Want to protect your own corner of the planet? Check out some more examples, learn how to create your own layer and be sure to let us know what you come up with.