Just in time for Earth Day last week, Cisco IBSG and San Francisco’s Department of the Environment unveiled Urban EcoMap, a Web-based tool that “provides urban communities with relevant data regarding the primary [greenhouse gas] contributors—transportation, waste, and energy.”
Working off the idea that knowledge is power, the tool intends to build awareness about climate change so that urban dwellers will take action to reduce their carbon emissions, as well as to support decision-making for policymakers, businesses, and other people involved in urban design and development. J.D. Stanley from Cisco describes this process as “digital swarming,” or “an approach that blends elements of social networking with human networking and with emerging capabilities provisioned through digital fabrics.”
San Francisco will be the first city to launch the tool. The pilot project, which began in fall 2008, will be made available to the general public on May 21 during the Connected Urban Development Global Conference, held in Seoul, South Korea as a joint program between Cisco and the City of Seoul. This invitation-only conference will explore “how cities are using information and communication technology (ICT) to create solutions that help reduce carbon emissions in metropolitan areas.” Previous conferences were held in San Francisco and Amsterdam.
Here’s a “visual preview” of Urban EcoMap:
Urban EcoMap Visual Preview from Urban EcoMap on Vimeo.
From the looks of it, Urban EcoMap includes several interactive features:
- You can rank neighborhoods based on carbon emissions from different sources (i.e. transportation, energy, waste)
- You can “Take Action” by setting specific goals, like “Bike or Walk to Work,” “Install a Programmable Thermostat” or “Compost Yard and Garden Waste,” then track the CO2 impact of your actions.
- You can even publicize your results via Facebook, presumably to inspire all your friends to set similarly carbon-reducing goals.
- You can see profiles (plus photos, videos and other info) of other Urban EcoMap users.
- You can plan your bike route using Google Maps.
From the video:
Did you know…
cities create 80% of global carbon emissions?
50% of the world’s population lives in cities?
cities produce 75% of the global economic output?
cities create 9 in 10 patented innovations?