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Submit an Idea for an App

2011 June 1

Thanks for all of your great ideas! We’ve organized them in a list and we’d like you to tell us the ideas you like best. Then we’ll show developers what you like so they can convert the ideas into apps.

If you want to add something new, you can suggest a new idea on another page.  You can also submit comments or questions about Data Resources, Data Sets, Services, and Existing Apps.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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69 Responses leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    December 15, 2012

    I would like an app that tells me what is recyclable and what is not in the community where I am located.

    What is accepted in the recycle bins varies widely from place to place and from time to time. I often have questions about specific items such as egg cartons and milk containers even in my home town. When I travel, I have no idea.

    A GPS enabled app could provide information on what is recyclable locally.

  2. William Cornell permalink
    June 6, 2012

    How about an app that informs a person with a smart phone or tablet waiting in line at the dept. of motor vehicles, or any government agency, what the current ticket number is so they might not have to wait two hours in a crowded waiting room and be able to get other things done. One might program the ticket ticket dispenser with a QR code that directs an individual to down the app at the DMV or from home, provide the next wait number in the que, then start a current wait number count down. The ticket dispenser would then skip the assigned number for those waiting on location.

    I was surprised by how many people from all walks of life now have smart phones while waiting at the DMV. I feel the benefits not only to the government agency or to individual might outway a nominal fee for not having to wait in a crowded room with strangers. I also believe it might curtail the subtle negative demeanor of not only those waiting, but those working behind the counter. Expand this through the US, state and other agencies and one could have a hit.

  3. January 2, 2012

    I think there are some amazing app ideas here…what about an app that allows people to monitor their footprint in their homes? Maybe a pc app that feeds to an iphone app?

  4. October 14, 2011

    I would like to see an application that provides up to date information on things to do that are environmentally oriented. For example, where is the closest beach? What amenities are located there? Where can I launch a kayak? Where is the closest state forest? Also include events such as: State Agricultural Fair, festivals. (This post is from Tanya and it was originally posted in the existing apps area.)

  5. October 14, 2011

    An app to help when selecting a vacation resort. For example, how “green’ is a particular resort? (submitted by a person at a conference)

  6. alex permalink
    October 3, 2011

    If you recycle your stuff, then you could influence more people to follow your example by being more vocal about it. A way to let other people know about your recycling activities is to snap a picture of yourself while at work. Here’s the application for doing just that. http://youtu.be/qxQn-00Rr7s

  7. September 28, 2011

    An app that would tell you how much pesticide is in the ground.

  8. September 25, 2011

    It would be nice to see a smartphone app where you ccould scan the upc on a product and stats / facts etc about damage to the environment in producing the product, using the product and disposal of the product. We have apps that allow us to scan the upc and find the best deal on the products. It’s great to get things cheaper… but at what cost? What’s the environmental impact for our urgency to get the cheapest? Add in what changes we may expect if the product were more green. For companies who consistently polute, flag their products so that we as consumers can make better choices… have a scale red, yellow, GREEN :-) for instance for companies as a whole. Have the same for individual products. If the data is readily available, if you scan an item (ie plastic bottle of water brand xyz) and there’s a more environmentally friendly versions available, show those options. Not allowing advertisers since the impression would be that whoever gave the most money would get the benefits… just unbiased data given to the public so we can make more informed decisions. Make sense? Thoughts?

  9. JAbel permalink
    September 14, 2011

    An app that identifies the power plant/source for the user’s current location. Show name/associated company/type/emissions/capacity/est, efficiency/misc, associated data.

    Would use the following data sets:
    -Clean Air Markets Acid Rain Program Allowance Holdings
    -Clean Air Markets Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) Annual NOx Program Allowance Holdings
    – Clean Air Markets Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) NOx Ozone Season Program Allowance Holdings

  10. JWatt permalink
    September 12, 2011

    An application that estimates our daily carbon footprint. For example, while traveling it could track your position using GPS. You could enter whether you are driving, walking, riding a bus or bike, flying on a plane, train, etc. Then you could compare the difference of the impact by selecting busing vs. driving. This could help people see the environmental impact of the traveling public.

  11. Ben Griffith permalink
    September 1, 2011

    I would like to see an app that allows you to take a picture of the food(1) you are eating/purchasing and then gives you the location it likely came from, including the average amount of energy spent processing it or transporting (data pulled possibly from DOE and USDA?) and your carbon equivalent footprint. I believe the paper trail is available for international commerce and interstate commerce (through DOC?). It could link to your GPS in your phone to draw inference to where your retailer purchases its supplies whether you are in a Kroger or a McDonalds or a Department Store. (1) – You would have to hack existing facial recognition software {or existing leaf recognition software} to identify the most common foods or read the UPC of products. This will allow green conscious consumers to make decisions on the fly about the food and other goods they consume. Plus, it would be cool.

  12. Robert F. permalink
    August 30, 2011

    An app geared towards kids and teens about what the EPA does and what they can do to help. Some ideas that can be included are recycling type game, making your community cleaner leader board where they can post pictures, ideas, actions and share them with facebook or twitter friends and earn green creidts for rewards, fun educational materials for info about the enviroment. Also maybe a way to tie in foursquare or gowalla as clean community scavenger hunts. Would love to help devlop this kind of app for the EPA.

  13. Carolyn Randall permalink
    August 26, 2011

    A pest identification guide that allows users to look up information on the pest (picture, life cycle, where to inspect, public health or food safety risk and IPM recommendations) while inspecting a building or food facility.

  14. Emily Selia permalink
    August 24, 2011

    App for clinicians to address pesticide exposure-

    According to a recent study from Manhattan Research, a health care market research firm, 64 percent of physicians own a smartphone, 30 percent have an iPad and another 28 percent intend to buy one within six months. One-third of health care providers use their smartphones to input patient data to their electronic health record. An increasing amount of physicians and medical students are using medical apps in place of reference and text books to obtain information on protocols for disease pathologies, instruction on medical procedures, and prescription drug dosages and interactions. Apps add functionality for health care providers in at least one of the following three ways: Point of care use, medical education, and/or patient education.

    Many physicians receive very little training in environmental health and in particular in diagnosing and managing pesticide poisonings. As a result, pesticide related illnesses are commonly misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed. The book, Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings (EPA#735-R-98-003), http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/healthcare/handbook/handbook.htm supported by EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, has crucial information for physicians to diagnose and treat pesticide poisonings. However, an increasing number of physicians who are relying on their smart phones and tablets for reference material complain that reference books are cumbersome to transport and inefficient when time is crucial to diagnose and treat poisonings. An app platform would place this information in the hands of health care providers in a timely manner and assist physicians in diagnosing and treating pesticide poisoning.

    Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings is available on the EPA website for free download to the public. Any conversion of this book to an app platform should use the best practices and examples of other prominent and widely used diagnostic resources and medical reference books already available on similar platforms. Apps should consider uses of diagnostic trees and be easily updated when additional peer-reviewed versions of Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings become available via the Agency. In order to ensure the integrity of the resource, content would only use the text/material found in the manual, which has been reviewed and written by medical experts. Any supplemental information would only include peer-reviewed information or resources recognized by an appropriate medical or nursing education institution or governing body. Testing of the app by medical experts and review of the coding to correct any inadvertent mistyping of the transferred text would be required for additional verification of the accuracy of the app’s reflection of manual content.

    Please contact Kristen Keteles, Carolyn Schroeder or Emily Selia in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs for questions regarding the manual.

  15. Mike permalink
    August 24, 2011

    Create a ‘What’s EPA doing in my neighborhood/ community” app. Linked to location by GPS coordinates, this app would provide both a listing of environmental hazards in the area, and notes on what EPA is doing about them. Photos and other information could also be linked.

  16. Trevor Mayhew permalink
    August 24, 2011

    I would love to see an app for the iPad which allows you to design your garden. It could include links to useful websites and tutorial on things like landscaping and How to lay a patio. That would be excellent.

  17. Aldo Muir permalink
    August 19, 2011

    Quality of life is affected by environmental, social, economic, health status, lifestyle, and other factors. Recent decades have seen increases in some health problems, such as obesity, asthma, and diabetes, at the same time that some other health problems have improved (lower rates of heart disease and some cancers). What factors are associated with quality of life? In particular, how does environmental health affect quality of life? My idea is for an app that lets users mine available data at the county or even finer spatial level to explore possible relationships across all the factors for which data are available. EPA’s environmental data would of course have to be one of the sources of data used. The app would need to have a statistical engine and geospatial display and visualization capabilities. While “correlation does not prove causation”, the app should use multivariate etc. statistical techniques to help users identify possibly important factors. Users should be able to use the app to generate hypotheses for further research. A cool example of one approach that begins to do this is Will Smith’s Dynamic Choropleth Mapper at: http://www.turboperl.com/dcmaps . The visual displays, and user-selectable controls are a nice touch. A weakness is that it doesn’t have the stronger statistical engine to do multivariate analyses across many datasets. Can you top this?

  18. Dr Jamie Cutting permalink
    August 9, 2011

    The professional enviromental testing industry lacks a standardised app for logging samples for chemical analysis at the point of collection. Maybe an app that utilises the GPS and barcode reading capabilities of iphones / android could be used to captuire information on site and send directly back to testing labs – i.e. capture time, date, location of sample and link to analytical requirements from sample containers barcode. This could all be automatically transferred back to laboratory LIMS systems, streamlining the whole process and improving data integrity – mislabled / mis read samples cost the industry millions! Such an app would be useful for contaminated land investigation / remediation validation, environmental monitoring (waters / soil & air), mining and agricultuiral testing communities. Time to set a benchmark?

  19. August 8, 2011

    Map a tree app: How about an app that lets people map the trees in their neighborhood? People could geo-locate a tree and input information to describe it (height, condition, etc.) The app could identify the tree, display it on a map, tell what kind of soil and possible fertilizer it needs, and tell people when other trees could be planted nearby.

  20. wallyrus permalink
    August 8, 2011

    How developing an app to submit an inquiry about a possibly illegal wetland fill?

  21. Jay permalink
    August 8, 2011

    An app that allows a user to submit an environmental complaint to the EPA and/or the appropriate state or local government. The app would allow the user to submit a description of the activity or incident, their contact info (if not anonymous), photos taken with their smart phone, as well as the location (GPS data).

  22. Steve permalink
    August 8, 2011

    Invasive species mapping.

    This could enable citizen scientists to contribute to the efforts to minimize the effects from invasive species. These maps could then be funnelled to biologists to eliminate the invader. Mapping feral cat colonies could help to notify local animal control agents to remove this threat to native birds.

  23. th permalink*
    August 7, 2011

    I have heard that 3000 lakes and rivers in the U.S. are pollutted by leaking lagoons of animal waste from factory farms. This creates e-coli poisoning at other farms. An app that could map this out for the safety of people who do not know what is happening upstream would be good.

  24. August 2, 2011

    Impaired waters and what I can do to help? – a mobile app that allows a user to identify a waterbody he/she is located near (or a specific one of interest). A user would get information on the status of the waterbody – i.e. is it meeting standards or is it impaired? If it is impaired, what is the pollutant and what are the threats? is their a TMDL developed? Then a user can click further to find out what he/she can do to manage the pollution and to help to restore this waterbody.
    The app would use many of the exising EPA datasets on impaired waters and TMDLs. In addition, a library of best management practices would have to be compiled for the “how I can help?” part of the app.

    • Allison permalink
      August 9, 2011

      This kind of already exists (and is growing to more states) at http://www.theswimguide.org. App for Android and iOS + web version. It’s really cool.

      • Denise permalink*
        September 15, 2011

        This web site appears to be only about beach water quality monitoring for bacteria levels as indicators of the possible presence of pathogens. What i would like to have is the ability to walk “up to” a water, have google earth nail my location, based on my location, tell me what data the government has (state, local fed) on what’s in the water (in a form that I can easily understand), what the likely sources are of these pollutants, and, who I should communicate with at the local, state and federal level if there is no data or the data tell me that my water is polluted. We need to do more to help people who care about water quality easily get the information.

  25. mp3 permalink
    August 2, 2011

    Idea for using TRI data to identify waste minimization and P2 opportunities

    I’d like to see any app that accesses EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) on facility chemical treatment practices to identify candidates for waste minimization and pollution prevention, e.g., a facility burning an organic chemical might be a candidate for purchasing recycling and reuse technology. This app might be used by the regulated industries as well as Federal, State and local government agencies.

  26. mp3 permalink
    August 2, 2011

    Idea for compliance assistance and pollution prevention app:

    I’d like to see an app that assists regulating industries in figuring out which Federal chemical related regulations they must comply with. The facility operator would enter the name of each chemical handled at the facility. The app would both access EPA data on the health effects of the chemical, and identify EPA (and if possible other Federal) regulations that may be applicable to the chemical. The app might also identify less hazardous alternatives to the chemical. This app might be used by regulated industries, as well as government agencies.

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