March 23 2008

Google Earth for Air Emissions

GE Baltimore Air Pollution_Image 01

(above) Air Polluters in Baltimore - Can you guess where the Constellation Energy plants are?

Now along with mountain ranges, roads, restaurants and tourist destinations, you can search for air pollution production levels around the United States! That is right, the EPA has created an dataset for Google Earth which allows you to map the six principal air pollutants by producer in a given area. Facilities producing more of a certain air pollutant appear as taller bars on the map which creates a topography of pollution. These air pollutants include:

  • carbon monoxide
  • lead
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • ozone
  • particulate matter (also known as particle pollution)
  • sulfur dioxide

It is great to see the federal government use such advanced applications to share information with the American public. This type of transparency within government is essential for building an informed public and encouraging the political will to affect change. I think once people see the pollution being generated, or not being generated, by facilities in their area, that they will demand solutions.

To view a map please download Google Earth and visit the EPA website to download the Google Earth File for your specific area.

GE Baltimore Air Pollution_Image 02

(above) An example of air pollutant data for each source.

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