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Danger Maps Backed By Alibaba Pinpoint Chinese Pollution

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A mapped view of high pollution areas in China.

The crowdsourced mapping project Data Maps is helping users to identify the locations of China's toxic-waste treatment facilities, oil refineries, power plants, and other sources of pollution.

Credit: Danger Maps

Danger Maps, a crowdsourced mapping project, is helping users locate China's high pollution areas such as toxic-waste treatment facilities, oil refineries, and power plants.

Danger Maps creator Liu Chunlei has mapped about 6,000 pollution sources based on government data and user input on China's Baidu Map. "More Internet users are starting to understand how important information and data can be for sustainable social activism," says Social Brain Foundation director Isaac Mao. "Visual sites are very helpful for the public to understand the big picture."

In January, the Alibaba Foundation, which supports environmental groups in China, gave Danger Maps $8,150 and offered to help with technical support.

Nongovernmental organizations in China increasingly are turning to online maps to boost awareness of their activities. For example, China Mangrove Conservation Network enables users to upload information on damaged mangroves from their phones, which the group adds to Baidu Map on its website.

"The reason we started crowdsourcing is that if everyone can take action and add data, the level of accuracy may rise," Liu says. "We’re not defining our image as being in opposition to the government. What we want is to create positive energy."

From Bloomberg
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