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MyEnvironment is a map-enabled, web-based search tool that the USEPA launched on Earth Day 2009. Directly from the EPA homepage you are invited to enter a geography – such as a street address, zipcode or waterbody – and what you get back is a sampler of the types of information that the EPA collects/analyzes as part of the broader mission of protecting environmental and human health.
The USEPA has been very careful about how this information are portrayed since the provocative nature of the data is nontrivial. When information about which industrial facilities report chemical emissions is portrayed side-by-side with cancer risk due to air toxics, the consumers of this information will infer cause and effect between the separate sources. We want to create awareness and maybe spur local activism but we don’t want to create a panic.
Kim Balassiano is an Information Management Specialist with EPA’s Office of Environmental Information (OEI). Kim has been with OEI since 2007, and she spent the prior 14 years in the private sector as a GIS and spatial analysis specialist, primarily supporting EPA. Her work has always been in spatial analysis and in developing IT solutions that leverage spatial technologies. Kim also worked for two years with a remote sensing company (3001, Inc.). She received her Master’s degree in Geography from UNC-Chapel Hill and has an undergraduate degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Kim directed the development of the Watershed Wiki component of Watershed Central and has been a leader in bringing Web 2.0 infrastructure to EPA. EPA now has over 100 blogs and wikis to support both internal operations as well as public collaboration.