Feeds

China's Danger Maps highlight health hazards

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.