Want to “Green” Your Route? There’s an App for That!

November 25, 2011

EPA launched Apps for the Environment in June, challenging contestants to use agency data to build a tool that addressed one of seven priorities including reducing the effects of climate change, improving air and water quality, and making environmental equality a larger part of the social justice debate.

Apps for the Environment is part of a governmentwide push to farm out government-generated data to the public where entrepreneurial developers can use it to create nonprofit or profit-making software, mobile apps and other tools. The repository Data.gov has uploaded 1,575 data sets in the past year.

In lieu of prize money, the winners’ apps will be promoted on EPA’s website and they can sell the tool in other venues.

The second-place finisher, showcased during an EPA event in Arlington, Va. was Hootroot, an app that lets users calculate the carbon footprint of a trip using different modes of transportation.

Hootroot helps you navigate efficiently from point A to point B. Powered by web services from Brighter Planet, Google Maps, and HopStop. Data for footprint calculations comes from the EPA’s US Greenhouse Gas Inventory and eGRID database, as well as from DOT, EIA, and others. As a web app, it requires no installation — simply head to http://hootroot.com/ and start using the tool.