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EPA’s Emerging Leaders Network Hacks Ideas for Apps for the Environment

2011 August 3

EPA Emerging Leaders Network brainstorms ideas for apps August 3, 2011
At the Environmental Protection Agency, we’re not just reaching out to the public for ideas on how to help developers – we’re asking our own best and brightest. EPA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) met today to brainstorm ideas for Apps for the Environment, our challenge to developers (including student developers!) to find innovative ways to use EPA data in applications that protect the environment or the public’s health.

It makes sense to pair developers and the ELN: EPA wants to develop long-term, sustainable relationships with developers, and the ELN are the innovators who will grow and maintain what we’re building today. And they use smart phones.

Here’s just a few of the apps ideas the group brainstormed on today:
Impact and Safety Calculator: This app would let people scan a product and return information about its environmental impact. For example, if a person scanned a French wine, the app would return information about its impact in terms of harvesting, packaging and transportation. The app could return notes about whether the product performs as advertised and suggest alternative products.

When to Fertilize the Lawn: This app could help people understand their impact on local rivers if they fertilize their lawns at a given time. The app could check the location and weather information and provide alerts when the people should not fertilize. It could be tied to EPA’s Adopt Your Watershed to link people to nearby environmental groups they can contact for additional involvement.

Consolidated Map App: Many apps are based on maps. Consider consolidating the features of a few apps into a Google Map that has data layers for several environmental aspects. For example, people could access the app while biking and turn on layers for water quality and air quality. The map could track the location and update the data as the biker moves.

Pollution Index: Using a Google map as a base, this app could provide an environmental index about pollutants near people and the industries involved. The app could offer people solutions, tips and ways they can help.

We’ll post these and other ideas on the Ideas for Apps page within a few days so developers can figure out how to make them.

What do you think, do you have what it takes to make one of these ideas a reality? Our EPA Emerging Leader Network would love to hear your feedback and ideas!

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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