Finnish innovation Envirate has constructed a new map of Helsinki city centre, based on people’s ratings on environmental quality. Helsinki Times has published the map, together with an interesting background story of Envirate.
Koe asuinkaupunkisi ja ympäristösi aivan uudella tavalla: anna kokemallesi arvosana. Mikä on paras paikka kaupungissasi tai mistä paikoista pitäisi pitää parempaa huolta? KaupunkiReittaus-kilpailu on kaikille, joita kiinnostaa yhteinen ympäristömme. Kaikkien reittaukseen osallistujien kesken arvotaan kaksi uunituoretta Nokia 6 -älypuhelinta sekä kunkin kuukauden paras kaupunkireittaaja saa palkinnoksi Nokia 6 -älypuhelimen!
You can rate in any environment – natural and urban, and where ever you go. Everyone can rate and it is easy and fun: What do you see? What do you hear? And how is the air to breathe? In case you may wonder how to scale your environment, please check our quick tutorial and the following scales how to rate your environment.
The first Pentti Malaska Futures Award is awarded to the Finnish startup Envirate which is developing a mobile application for assessing the state of the environment. The goal is to develop an application that enables people to evaluate their surrounding environment in the same way as, for example, hotels are evaluated by customers. The data that is collected this way creates almost real-time map of the state of our planet, as perceived by people.
Envirate Press Release: Helsinki, Finland – June 12, 2017
Finnish environmental technology service, Envirate, brings mass, net-based scoring to environmental evaluation. By rating the status of natural environments a highly detailed view is generated, as well as renewed interest in caring for them. The app is billed for release on June 15th, 2017 as part of the international ENO (Environment Online) net school’s 2017 Act Now conference.
Today, there exists huge amount of information on environmental issues such as pollution, water and air quality, deforestation, climate change etc. Typically, all this environmental information is based on an approach that there is an external world out there, and we must measure it by some technical apparatus, to understand it better, and to know how to act wisely. However, out fundamental problem is that even though we know hell lot about all the problems, still the state of the global environment is getting worse. Perhaps there is a need for a new approach.
The world is facing huge environmental challenges. We need new solutions.
Envirate smartphone app will allow anybody anytime anywhere give ratings on the environment around them, monitoring unwelcome/welcome changes in the state of the environment.
People will become watchdogs for the state of the Mother earth.
Imagine the day when 100 million people with their smartphones have become watchdogs for the Mother Earth, creating a real-time worldmap of the state of the local environment.
A powerful new early warning system to man-made environmental degradations and catastrophes.
Based on tested science
Our team member Harju-Autti based his PhD thesis (2016) on the subject of perceived state of the environment globally. At the outset in 2011, academic peers were not convinced it would be possible to gather data from even 20 countries. With verified data quality, this use of people’s subjective perceptions worked very well, resulting to a unique global comparison map with 57 countries. The idea was therefore born that each individual could contribute to expert opinion, and crowd-source environmental information.
Now every individual anywhere can be an ‘expert’ and thus start rating the environment via a mobile app Envirate. This is so-called citizen science approach. Citizen science projects are activities where non-scientists can meaningfully contribute to scientific research. Even though numerous citizen science projects are today dealing with the environment, none have an idea of rating perceived states of the global environment with a smartphone. This citizen science approach is well tested and has previously yielded practical and concrete results: Wikipedia lists globally currently 190 active citizen science projects, and SciStarter lists thousands more.
This research provided the key stimulus for the idea of Envirate, where the proposed solution relies on existing methodology and provable science. Now we are at a turning point with an existing technology that is increasingly an everyday item for each person – the smartphone – that can be harnessed to overcome global environmental challenges.
How it works
The rationale is simple: we are used to rating hotels, food, travel and so forth; why not do the same for the environment? The solution: a smartphone app, linked to a cloud database to produce a global heatmap of environmental quality. Envirate allows anyone with access to a smartphone to give ratings on the environment around them, monitoring unwelcome/welcome changes. With the collected data, it creates a universal scale to measure people’s perceptions of the quality of the environment. This living, global heat map is updated in real-time. Envirate creates a platform for completely new environmental big data, producing valuable information for decision-makers at all levels – the individual, business, and policy-makers.
The quality of the data itself generated with will be checked for consistency algorithmically and compared and weighted with more experienced users, making sure that the data is statistically internally and externally valid worldwide. Moreover, extensive gamefication is used for motivating people to become known as better Enviraters.
A global system generating large amounts of environmental big data poses a challenge for high performance computer systems. The emergence of cloud computing has now allowed to pursue goals that were once too complicated or involved. Envirate is built on well-established, existing technologies: cloud computing for application hosting and handling large quantities of data, and the smartphone app, which will be free to download for all major mobile ecosystems.
Who will use it?
Our team member Mika Vanhanen has himself built a unique network of 10 000 schools worldwide that have planted over 20 million trees in the last 15 years. This network will be utilized in the early stages to create an initial user base for Envirate as a natural progression. So, we got a ready-to-go userbase of over 100 000 people to start with.
Locals have a natural, vested interest to monitor changes nearby their homes. Tourists will get added benefit from Envirate and show beautiful areas. When you enter a new city, just click one button to see what environmental activities are around – join the activities, feel the fun and social empowerment! Your tourist trips will never be the same! Many NGOs will benefit from the use of Envirate. However, environmental activities are not only for environmentalists – this is a tool for everybody; for all of humanity.
The applications are limitless. Envirate can help cities, communities, and activists refocus appropriate resources, help corporations and businesses take local responsibility, inform realtors of prime locations, be an early warning system for environmental abuse…or simply tell you the best place to go for a walk. It has the potential to immediately change people’s quality of life for the better, as well as to monitor long-term environmental factors, to stimulate clean-up projects – in general, to promote local environmental activities. With even a small fraction of the global population as watchdogs, this becomes a CHANGE.
Pekka has a general responsibility of Envirate as a CEO.
Petri takes care of Envirate app design and visual output.
Janne handles application platform development and cloud computing.
Aleksi focuses on the data analysis and local participation & networking.
Mika is creating an extensive global userbase in 150+ countries.
Elina manages Envirate's marketing & communications activities.