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Hazardous waste sites on the EPA National Priorities List (NPL) are commonly known as Superfund sites taking their name from the common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfund ]. Superfund Finder is an interactive location-aware visualization that let's you discover more about the nationwide distribution of Superfund sites as well as sites near you.
How to use Superfund Finder
Simply visit the web app at http://checkitnsee.com/ from any modern browser to begin exploring Superfund sites near you. You will immediately notice the color-coded map icons that represent both individual Superfund sites as well as localized clusters of sites. Such clusters are demarked by slightly larger icons that display the # of sites aggregated within and colored accordingly.
From a desktop browser single-click a clustered marker to zoom in further which will result in disaggregation of nearby sites as zoom level and geographic proximity allow. iPhone users can double-tap the map or pinch to zoom.
Clicking on a smaller yellow icon without numbers will display further information about an individual Superfund site including the site's name, street address, lat / long and a link to the EPA's Environmental Interest Profile for your selected location.
Additional location-aware functionality is available in Firefox 3.5, iPhone Mobile Safari and Android browsers - just look for the "Locate Me" button in the top right corner of the map! Clicking will cause your browser to ask your permission to share your current location with Superfund Finder. User location is solely used to center & zoom the map accordingly to provide a more personally relevant visualization. This feature works on your Android & iPhone mobile devices as well as with Firefox 3.5 or higher running on any networked computer.
Tips for iPhone users
iPhone users will enjoy an improved user experience if upon first visiting http://checkitnsee.com/ they use Mobile Safari's bottom toolbar's "+" button to "Add to Home Screen". This little trick not only gets you a nifty Superfund Finder app icon - it also enables full-screen maps! That's right, even though Superfund Finder is merely a web app, when launched directly from your home screen icon Safari will display full-screen sans address bar or toolbar thus freeing more screen real estate for your Superfund site visualization enjoyment.
Why Superfund Finder?
The EPA dataset available at http://www.data.gov/details/6 is rich with geospatial information - so chock full of it, in fact, that the sheer size of the data makes it especially challenging to discern meaning from, to play around with, to visualize, even to display at all!
Desktop applications like Google Earth can process the data ~ 18MB uncompressed but is only able to do so for a minority of concerned citizens with access to sufficiently powerful computers.
Web applications like simple Google Maps mashups also fail to do justice to the scope of the EPA's dataset. While KML support is found in the Google Maps API, practical limitations on data size (10MB) and the max # of placemarks that can be rendered concurrently hamper a developer's ability to make use of the rich data that has been made available via data.gov and ongoing efforts to increase government transparency.
Handed coded with love by mattpaul @copy; 2009 mopimp productions [ http://mopimp.com ]. This has been a mopimp joint.
This application was submitted by mopimp productions on August 7, 2009