The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using geographic information system (GIS) technology to show how it is administering its $7.22 billion allotment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The ESRI ArcGIS Server software-based Web mapping application (click the link on http://www.epa.gov/recovery/map.html) shows total financial obligations and outlays by state. Once a state is selected, visitors can see how much money is going to State and Tribal Assistance Grants, Environmental Program and Management, the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, and Hazardous Substance Superfund.
“Providing this rich set of information to the public in an easy-to-use mapping application is one important way that we are operating in an open and transparent way,” says Jerry Johnston, geospatial information officer, EPA. “By allowing the public to see exactly how EPA’s ARRA funds are being disbursed in their states and, ultimately, in their neighborhoods, this application and the ones that will follow will help ensure an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency in the execution of these programs.”
EPA has used ESRI GIS technology for years to manage its geographic data and deliver information to the public. The EnviroMapper portal, for example, provides access to GIS-based applications that map data related to air, water, and land issues across the United States including EnviroMapper for Environmental Justice and EnviroMapper for the Toxics Release Inventory Program. Most recently, EPA added MyEnvironment to its home page, which allows visitors to input a location and discover detailed information in the specified area such as air quality, cancer risk estimates, and water conditions. MyEnvironment is powered by ArcGIS Server and uses Microsoft Bing Maps.
“GIS supports EPA’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment,” says ESRI president Jack Dangermond. “Using GIS for research, reporting, and decision making has allowed the agency to quickly respond to environmental events and keep the public informed and protected.”