#GreenAlert

#GreenAlert

Organisation: Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism (South Africa)

Publication Date: 02/25/2015

Description

#GreenAlert is a bleeding-edge datajournalism project that enables users to find out about developments happening in their backyard, and elsewhere in South Africa. South African law says planned development projects, including mines, dams, power stations, roads and landfill sites, need to have their environmental impacts assessed before they can go ahead. However, access to information on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) is often difficult to obtain. #GreenAlert is powered by a database of more than 8,600 Environmental Impact Assessments from around the South Africa. The database was obtained by the Oxpeckers Center via a request under the Public Access to Information Act. #GreenAlert users keep up to date with the status of developments that interest them by registering for personalised alerts, and receive real-time notifications by email or SMS. They are also able to help keep the developers accountable by joining and participating in community networks. The #GreenAlert mobile app and website serve as the prototype for the development in 2015 of #MineAlert, a citizen-focused, mobile and web-based resource that will provide users with real-time and location-based alerts about mining and associated applications made in terms of South African law, and any resulting authorisations. Both platforms have been built as a collaboration involving the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism and Code for Africa.

Technologies used for this project:

Code4Africa custom-made a bleeding-edge CMS for #GreenAlert. Some key innovations of the platform include: • Geocodes and caches addresses for easy mapping • Allows defining data in the dashboard from any CSV • Automated category assignment via keyword search • Subscription of alerts in a specified area or individual project • Use My Location • Customised overlapping markers clusters to map multiple sets of data • Shareable links to maps • ‘Share’ buttons that allow users to type a comment / call-to-action with an embedded URL to the #GreenAlert page, for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ • Evernote & Email buttons • Markdown - for HTML-free back-end editing
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