POLLUTION LOCATOR|About Scorecard's Java Mapper

Scorecard uses a dynamic mapping system to improve our ability to distribute information about local environmental quality. We think it provides an exciting way to explore Scorecard's data graphically. Pass your cursor over the map and see how the data changes for different geographic areas. You can zoom out to compare data between counties or states, or zoom in to examine neighborhood environmental problems at the street level.

The mapper can be easily accessed from Scorecard community reports: just find your community by providing your zipcode and select "Explore the Maps." Or use our search engine to find a report for your state, county, zipcode or a polluting company. Once you are on a report, click on your geographic area's name in the Maps section.

Help with operating the mapper.

Scorecard's dynamic mapper is a java applet, so you need to have a java-enabled browser and be willing to download the applet to your computer. If you are visiting the site using an older browser that does not support java (or have java disabled on your computer), Scorecard will automatically detect this and provide you with an html version of its maps. The non-java maps provide the same map images and links to Scorecard reports as the java version, but do not display the dynamic charts of environmental data in conjunction with the maps.

Scorecard downloads a java applet to your machine, which then communicates with a java-based map server connected to the Scorecard database. All the information required to draw the map and charts and to support displaying area names and requesting area reports is streamed to the applet based on the geographic extent of the area you are interested in. The applet is about 30K in size, about one-tenth the size of commercial dynamic mapping applets.

In contrast with other online mapping systems, the user interface with the map is "modeless" - you do not need to decide what you want to do off the map (zoom, identify, etc) and then move to the map to select an area for this action. Instead, the Map Viewer's surface is highly interactive. You select both area and action with a click of your mouse on the map. The Map Viewer also has a unique ability to dynamically display charts of data attributes that are associated with geospatial areas.

To create the maps displayed by our java server, Scorecard uses GIS software and data donated to Environmental Defense by the Environmental Systems Research Institute. Maps are pre-produced in ArcView, which is used to prepare data for map display and to do all cartography. ESRI operates a Conservation Support Program which donates GIS products to organizations working to protect the environment.

Scorecard's GIS consultant Karl Goldstein. Karl's Practical Map Server is free open source software distributed under the terms of the GNU Public License.