Introducing IVAN: Crowdsourced Environmental Issue Tracking

7825968422_e651ff8c56_oIt happens rather frequently, I’ll be driving through a spray of pesticide or I’ll notice a car that is chugging black smoke behind it down the highway.  It’s a terrible blight on my experience, but also on the environment and what makes me so annoying to be around is that there’s generally nothing to do but roll my eyes and begin complaining to whoever is nearest to me.

Now: with IVAN’s technology that is live in Imperial Valley, Coachella, Kern County, and Fresno in California, there are several things that I can do with that information. I can text, email, call, or upload information that is disruptive and environmentally unsound to this environmental mapping service that pinpoints specific complaints so that others can review and respond to that information. You can follow-up and find out what’s being done about the issue that you’ve reported or volunteer to become a member of a task force that takes responsible for cleaning up.

It’s a rather empowering set-up that IVAN is offering to local communities. IVAN is the Imperial Visions Action Network whose functionality includes: real-time mapping, detailed reports, user alerts, and support to implementers.

Most interestingly, IVAN is based on the same technology that developed Ushahidi. Ushahidi has been providing open source, information collection for a variety of purposes (including reports of ethnic violence that relate to particular neighborhoods, disaster reporting, and more). It’s great that it continues to be used towards purposes that are generally geared towards making the world a better place.

What other purposes could Ushahidi be applied to? What sorts of environmental problems do you see in your community?

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