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RedBit Helps Track Pollution in Canada

By November 11, 2010 No Comments

As part of the Open Lab (with RedBit as the technical lead), we are happy to announce a new the initial release of Emitter.  Emitter is an online website that takes open data provided by Environment Canada and makes this data easy to read.  Currently the data is not in the friendliest format and doesn’t allow everyday citizens to easily decipher the data.  Emitter attempts to solve that problem.

EmitterEmitter takes the pollution data and converts it into a format that is easy to read by humans and by software.  For humans, type in your riding, address and you will get a map showing the various factories in the area.  The team wanted to give citizens an easier way to find out what is happening around them and a simpler way to get engaged.  For software, all data is stored on Windows Azure using the  Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) to open up the data and allow other developers to use the data in their own applications.  The data is hosted on Datadotgc.ca which is a site dedicated to opening up public data

RedBit founder, Mark Arteaga, talks about the whole reason behind the project and why produce a product like this.  The entire RedBit team was involved on the project in some way or another.  Barranger talks about his experience with OGDI and AzureAaron also talks about his experience with OGDI and PHP.

Emitter is a collaborative effort by various people across Canada to help make pollution data easily accessible, searchable and readable and not just the RedBit team.  This would not have happened with out the help of

  1. David Eaves – Open Government activist and envisioned the Emitter.ca concept and helped bring it from start to finish
  2. Matthew Dance – The ‘brains’ behind the Emitter.ca methodology, graduate student at University of Alberta and responsible for interpreting/analyzing the pollution data and allowing us to present in useful ways
  3. Nik Garkusha – Open Data enthusiast and Open Source Strategy Lead at Microsoft Canada.  Nik took role of architect and helping to envision Emitter and most importantly providing funding and hosting for Emitter at the Microsoft Open Lab

Emitter was a collaborative effort for the good of all.

Here are some links to others that have written about Emitter and Open Data initiatives

If you are a developer and want to know how to access the data please go to the Datadotgc.ca OGDI instance to access the data.  For the benefit of the developer community we will also be releasing tutorials on how to access the pollution data in your applications.

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