From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published October 29, 2012 10:48 AM

Smartphone apps allow users to see critical environmental issues

With smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly popular, so are their applications or 'apps'. And trust me, they have an app for just about anything. From games to news outlets, weather trackers, and finding the best shopping deals, apps are there to provide us with entertainment and to make our online experience easier. Apps can also be used for educational purposes and recently, two developers have come up with new and exciting technology on how we can see environmental issues in app format.

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Collins Geo, a cartographic team of UK-based developers has created an interactive app that enables users to explore global data on several critical issues, including how human populations are impacting the natural world and the production and consumption of energy resources.

Recently released, Atlas by Collins uses a series of 3D globes to illustrate seven topics, including energy, the environment, politics, and population.

The digital atlas contains data from around the world listing more than 200,000 geographical sites, including cities, landmarks, and natural features. Users can compare trends in population, pollution, and forest loss, and trace the shifting dynamics of the distribution of energy resources. The app allows viewers to explore the planet's surface and click key points to zoom to street-level detail.

Another cool environmental application is the new WAZE smartphone navigation app that recently introduced a water pollution detector. The feature informs users if the lake or river they pass by or intend on using for recreation suffers from pollution.

Developed by the WAZE app's architects and Zalul Environmental Association, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting Israel's natural waters, the app is meant to raise awareness to the growing water pollution in Israel.

The app sends users a pop-up window on their smartphones' screens informing them of pollution issues associated with their location and any responsible parties that may be to blame for the pollution.

Zalul said that the campaign also aims to increase pressure on the Energy and Water Ministry and the other relevant authorities to stop giving industries permits to pump waste into Israel's rivers. The app also hopes to generate better enforcement against polluters.

For more information about the 3D Digital Atlas app, see Yale360.

Read more about the WAZE app at YNET News.

Smartphone app image via Shutterstock.

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