Government 2.0: EPA’s MyEnvironment

At this year’s Gov 2.0 Expo and Summit, held at Washington D.C.’s convention center, government application developers presented a few next-generation e-government services.  While a complex subject, Gov 2.0 often supports more personalized interactions between government and citizen (G2C) or government and business (G2B). Gov 2.0 also enables deeper intra-government collaboration and data-sharing. Gov 2.0 services may be open source, which enables developers to collaborate on future development.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched MyEnvironment, which aggregates maps and data and presents community environmental statistics. Users can search by neighborhood and learn about the air quality (including daily ozone and particulate matter forecasts), cancer risk levels (including infant mortality and low birth rates), water quality, brownfields and other factors that determine the overall environmental quality and livability of a community. Users can also zoom into a specific facility in a community and discover which chemicals and how much of those chemicals a facility can lawfully release, a facility’s compliance record, and current violations. There are also links to reports on ecological conditions of watersheds that are used by a specific community. The EPA said its online services were now all about “transparency, transparency, transparency.”

Other e-Government applications presented:

The San Francisco city government just launched Data SF, a portal-style clearinghouse of datasets, which enables San Francisco residents and researchers to view and manipulate government data and create their own research, mashups and visualizations. Environmental datasets includes a street tree list. Geographic datasets provides information on San Francisco’s shoreline and islands, highways and streets, and “planning open space,” among other areas. Data SF will continue to add datasets, and is seeking feedback during its beta development process. San Francisco’s government also encourages web developers to create applications that use San Francisco’s data and then share these tools through Civic DB.

While still in the concept phase, “Invisible City: Mobile Augmented Reality” would use the 3D interface capability of iPhones (instead of goggles or other virtual reality toys) to overlay a virtual reality on physical urban objects. Invisible City would provide “natural mapping” to enhance the physical presence of the city. As an example, a 3D image of a street including views of stores and a subway station would include overlayed links and access to the actual products in the stores and the subway’s real-time schedule. Rob Rhyne sees a iPhone user waving his iPhone at a street and asking “Where is the nearest subway station?” and getting a response in 3D. With “ubiquitous access,” users could also take photos or videos and send real-time data to government about crimes that have just happened, or traffic jams. In this scenario, there could be more two-way interactions between citizens and government.

One thought on “Government 2.0: EPA’s MyEnvironment

  1. Bill 09/08/2009 / 10:49 pm

    There are a good number of websites that provide informations on air quality as well as asthma and allergy alerts. These websites if checked regularly, helps one to take steps against the harmful effects of air pollutions.


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