Vermont mapping software wins national EPA award
Boston, Mass. -- A computer mapping program that lets you calculate your carbon footprint and that was developed by a company in Shelburne, Vt., was recently recognized in a national challenge by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Hootroot, developed by Brighter Planet, was given the overall runner-up award in EPA’s Apps for the Environment challenge, which encourages the development of innovative environmental applications..
The mapping program provides directions and carbon footprints for driving, transit, flight, and human-powered transportation options on any route.
According to Brighter Planet’s website, Hootroot “helps you navigate efficiently from point A to point B” and is powered by web services from Brighter Planet, Google Maps, and HopStop. Data for the footprint calculations comes from the EPA's US Greenhouse Gas Inventory and eGRID database, as well as from other sources. As a web app, it requires no installation.
Hootroot was one of five winners in EPA’s challenge, which aimed to engage the software developer community to create new and innovative uses of EPA’s data to address environmental and public health issues. Applications covered a range of topics such as local air quality, contaminants in fish, and games to learn environmental facts.
'I am not at all surprised to see a Vermonter create such a useful and innovative application that will help people make good environmental decisions about their everyday actions,' said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. 'New England has a long history of smart, creative citizens who care about how to protect our environment and apply green thinking to their lifestyle. This is another link in that long chain.'
“We are witnessing a revolution in finding ways to harness massive amounts of data to empower individuals, companies and governments to make smarter decisions,” said “Andy Rossmeissl, the lead designer on HootRoot. “The EPA has emerged as a leader in the push for opening government data and engaging the developer community in creating apps that are innovative as well as user-friendly. This competition really showcases these efforts and we are very honored to be among the winners.”
The other four winners of the EPA award are:
Winner, Best Overall App: Light Bulb Finder by Adam Borut and Andrea Nylund of EcoHatchery, Milwaukee, Wis.
Winner, Best Student App: EarthFriend by Ali Hasan and Will Fry of Differential Apps and Fry Development Company, Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, N.C. and J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C..
Runner Up, Best Student App: Environmental Justice Participatory Mapping by Robert Sabie, Jr. of Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash.
Popular Choice Award: CG Search by Suresh Ganesan of Cognizant Technology Solutions, South Plainfield, N.J.
Winners demonstrated their submissions at the Apps for the Environment forum Nov. 8 in Arlington, Va. The forum included panels on business, technology and government initiatives, breakout sessions by EPA’s program offices, upcoming developer challenges, and future directions about environmental applications.
All contestants will retain intellectual property rights over their submissions, though winners agree that their submissions will be available on the EPA website for free use and download by the public for a period of one year following the announcement of the winners.
More information about the winners and other submissions: http://appsfortheenvironment.challenge.gov/submissions
More information about EPA’s Apps for the Environment forum: http://www.epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment/forum.html