Chlorine gas in a D.C. park and airborne lead compounds beside historic Old Town Alexandria—these are just two toxic air emissions among thousands reported in EPA's Toxic Release Inventory.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory is a great example of government data made available for others to make mashups. Last week I coded a simple mashup using EPA's data that makes it easy to find toxic air emissions in your own backyard. Please explore it and let me know what you think! (It is optimized for Firefox browsers.)
I am not the first who has mapped this valuable environmental data, but my application is the simplest.
Coincidentally, EPA's Chief Information Office, Molly O'Neill, also wants to know what you think about her agency's environmental information offerings. Ms. O'Neill will be holding a "National Dialogue" on the topic soon. EPA is asking for comments by May 31, 2008.
Congratulations are due to EPA for making its database available in a relatively easy-to-use format with highly-accurate longitude and latitude data. The Toxic Release Inventory may serve as a good starting point for other federal geographical data. However, there is still so much more that could be done, for example by providing web services and better explanations of database fields.