The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced earlier this week that they would begin making hazardous site information available for GIS applications such as Google Earth.
Agency representatives at a public meeting here on Wednesday unveiled what they billed as the first step in a new push to make the EPA’s vast scientific data stores more readily accessible online for download and incorporation into popular applications like Google Earth and Microsoft Visual Earth.
The agency’s ultimate goal is to boost public awareness of its activities–with a loftier aim of improving public health and the environment in the process–by allowing federal agencies, companies and even mashup artists to get their hands on the data more easily. Such data can play a key role in everything from land-use planning to real estate transactions, they said.
“We’re extremely excited about this,” said Pat Garvey, one of the project’s managers. “We think this is really going to advance public access.”
The pilot piece of that effort, posted early Wednesday morning, is a single XML file containing information on about 1,600 locales relegated to the Superfund National Priorities List. As required by Congress since 1980, the EPA uses that list to locate, investigate and clean up the worst-offending landfills, chemical plants, radiation sites and other areas known or suspected of releasing contaminants, pollutants and other hazardous substances.
You can find the XML file mentioned in the article at http://www.epa.gov/enviro/geo_data.html