Feeds

China's Danger Maps highlight health hazards

Dirt the party doesn't like to talk about exposed by mashup

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

China’s many environmental hazards are well documented, as are its government’s less than transparent approach to governing. But one enterprising local start-up has managed to address both in a new app which uses publicly available information to let users check whether they’re about to move next door to a landfill.

Danger Maps mashes up data from local government environmental departments and China’s environmental protection ministry with Baidu Maps to present users with a detailed view of any local health hazards.

Results can be listed within a 5km radius or expanded to 5-10kms from the searched-for location.

A quick search for this reporter’s flat on Hong Kong Island yielded several petrol stations, a Shell refinery, three sewage treatment plants and – presumably if the worst happens – two local hospitals.

Information listed includes the name and type of facility, its address and the distance to the user’s location, all of which could be pretty useful for flat-hunters – especially those moving to a new area with children in tow.

Tian Yu of the not-for-profit app developer IT Engineers for Environmental Protection Association told TechInAsia that the idea for designing the tool came because he lives next door to a landfill.

“I thought, if I had known about the environmental situation here when I was buying a house, perhaps my decision would have been more well informed and maybe I wouldn’t have bought the house at all,” he said.

The next stage of the project is apparently to work with environmental groups to build a platform whereby users can report new facilities or incidents – thereby crowdsourcing to build up an even more comprehensive picture of environmental hazards.

Thanks in part to the power of social media, the Chinese public has become increasingly vocal about the environmental and health effects of polluting heavy industry – a knock-on effect of the country’s rapid economic growth.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Shifang in Sichuan province in the summer to protest local government plans to build a molybdenum copper plant, for example.

The UK government, of course, has had its own version Danger Maps for some time now. The police.uk site maps out criminal incidents in the vicinity of a user’s location.

However, the site appears to have backfired somewhat after it emerged that locals were deliberately not reporting crimes for fear of devaluing the neighbourhood. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.