I’ve reported on several different green mapping tools recently (here and here). But I didn’t connect the dots, so to speak, until reading a story in SustainableBusiness about a “First-of-its-Kind” map released today. The piece describes a new online visual tool showing the location of some 2,200 green businesses throughout the Golden State.
It goes further than that, of course. The map, created by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), uses Google Maps to allow the user to select a specific type of green business. Unfortunately, it’s limited to four categories: Green buildings, Energy generation, Energy efficiency and Transportation.
I hate to be a nitpicker but, really? Just four?
On the other hand, the map is far more inclusive when it comes to locations. The user can filter businesses by city, congressional district or county.
And when you click on a colored-pin a bubble pops up containing the address and contact information for the business and a brief description of what it is they do.
An EDF spokesperson told SustainableBusiness that the map is unique because it creates “a visual dynamic resource for people to better understand what a green economy looks like.”
I don’t know about that (probably because I don’t know what it means), but the map is well conceived and nicely executed. EDF earns some bragging rights with it. And those looking for green jobs can use the map in conjunction with another EDF resource, The Green Jobs Guidebook.
Still, the most intriguing features of the map are not the ones discussed on the group’s website or in other stories around the Web. I’m enjoying seeing how green congressional districts are and comparing the rhetoric of their representatives to the number of green businesses in the district. The map’s potential as a tool for community organizers and green advocates is impressive.
I don’t know that this mapping tool is really a “First-of-its-Kind.” However, the California green economy map is different from about 75% of the “killer apps” churned out each day from a shoddy “killer app” machine somewhere (a Google search of the phrase “killer app” returned 830,000 hits). The difference is that the mapping tool is useful. Sometimes, that’s good enough.