E-MAPS provides information about different regions' environmental factors and influences.
Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a
new feature on their Web site that brings environmental information to your
fingertips. HUD's environmental mapping application
(E-MAPS) provides detailed information about ecohazards and
government programming for anyone concerned about the
well-being of a community. "In theory, this is a one-stop
cyber-shopping site," says Lee Jones, HUD spokesperson.
The new mapping application was created by overlaying the
environmental data of the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) with the award-winning Community 2020 mapping
software — a geographic CD-ROM program created by HUD in
1997 that allows citizens to monitor the spending of their
tax dollars in communities nationwide.
The Web site met with immediate popularity when it debuted
in mid-September. "We received 10,000 requests to print out
[our] maps within the first four hours," Jones says. To
accommodate the demand, HUD immediately began installing
additional servers. According to Jones, the demand reflects
the concern people have for their communities.
The HUD program is user-friendly, with colored maps, a
glossary of technical terms and a zoom-in function — all
that you need is a city name or zip code and the road to a
cleaner neighborhood is just a mouse click away.
Abandoned, idle or underused industrial/ commercial facilities
Air pollution emitted from electric power plants, steel mills, factories and universities
Facilities that use, manufacture, transport or release toxic chemicals
Businesses that generate, transport, treat, store and dispose hazardous waste; and companies that have permits to discharge waste water into rivers