EPA Makes Emissions Vivid Via Google Earth Platform

Have you ever used your computer to "fly" through the mountains, or zoom in on a satellite picture of your house? Now you can use the same technology to learn more about emissions and air quality across the country and where you live. EPA has developed two tools that let computer users "see" air quality information on a virtual globe.

"Google has changed the way people use the Internet. By combining their innovative mapping tools with our air data, EPA and Google are changing the way people use the Internet to protect their health," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

The first tool is part of the new "Air Emission Sources" Web site, which is designed to make emissions data for six common pollutants easy to find and understand. Based on the latest National Emissions Inventory, the site uses charts and Google Earth files to answer a user's questions. Users can look at overall emissions, emissions by type of industry, or emissions by largest polluter. For example, if a user wants to know what industry emits the most sulfur dioxide in a particular state, he or she selects the state from a map, picks a pollutant, and the site creates a chart showing the emissions by industry. If users want to see which refineries in a state emit the most sulfur dioxide, they can use the "tilt" feature in Google Earth to quickly find the largest emitter and then click on the balloon to get more details about emissions from that facility.

EPA also is providing Air Quality Index (AQI) information in the Google Earth format. The AQI tool quickly reveals air quality across the country; clicking on a specific location shows that city's AQI forecast and current levels of ozone or particle pollution. The AQI is EPA's color-coded tool to inform the public about daily air pollution levels in their communities. EPA, in collaboration with state and local governments, provides AQI forecasts and conditions for more than 300 cities across the United States.

To view information in Google Earth format about which facilities emit any of six common pollutants, go to http://www.epa.gov/air/emissions/where.htm. See AQI forecasts and current conditions at http://www.airnow.gov. View air quality information in Google Earth format at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=google_earth.main. EPA is also using the Google Earth platform to display Acid Rain Program data at http://epa.gov/airmarkets/progress/interactivemapping.html. EPA's Air Emissions Sources website is available at http://www.epa.gov/air/emissions.

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  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

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