Using the Site


On this page, we explain how to explore MapEcos, search for a facility of interest, and interpret what you see.

Exploring MapEcos

How to move around the map.

  • Click on the map, hold the mouse down, and drag the map.  Release the mouse to stop dragging.

  • Double click on the map to center the map there.

  • Click Go to jump to a location by typing a location name, street address, city, state, or zipcode.  

  • Clicking will take you back to your last Go location, or the United States.

How to zoom in or out.

  • "Zoom" by clicking   and then clicking two corners of a bounding box.

    Remember: click one corner, release the mouse button, click another corner.

  • Use the scale tool

Getting Facility information.

Browse:  Go anywhere on the map where you see red and blue dots.  Zoom in about half way.  Roll the mouse over a marker to get the name of that facility.  Click on it to get information on that facility. 

Search:  Enter  search terms in the "tools" find and mark all of the facilities that match a given criteria.  Matching facilities will appear in a list in the left column.  All of the facilities in the list will be shown as dots on the map.  Facilities at the top of the list are also identified by markers (i.e. little pins).  To see other markers, click through the list using the arrows at the top of the search.  Or, if you have selected to sort by distance, move the map to a region of interest.

Search Tips.

<- Changes the order of the search results.
<- Enter a facility name.
<- Enter an industry name or and SIC code (Petroleum or 2911).
<- Enter a name to see all of the TRI facilities in that company.
<- Enter a chemical name where it is emitted.
<- Enter level to see facilities with higher or lower emissions (e.g. 3, or 9, etc. Don't enter "level").
<- Enter level to see facilities with higher or lower hazard scores.
<- Search will report results that match all criteria.

Remember, the button at MapEcos will always bring back summary instructions on how to get around the map.


Interpreting data on the facilities.

Facility Summary: Point color and emissions levels

Most facilities in the US have low emissions, while a few facilities have enormous emissions.  In calculating our levels and in setting the color of the facility marker dot, we wanted to take this into account.  As a result, we created an exponential scale for our dot color and in calculating the "Emissions Level" and the "Hazard Level".  The cutoff for each level is 10X that of the previous one.   A facility with the median level of emissions (Level 3) will have a dot color that appears between blue and purple.  For more information on how we calculated our levels, click here.





Median facility

The following two graphs show just how skewed are emissions.  Even with our exponential scaling, the vast majority of emissions come from levels 7,8, and 9.  Yet, the number of facilities in these levels represent only 2.5% of the total.  The one facility as level 9 has far more emissions that the bottom 6 levels (totally 90% of all facilities).  

But again, we encourage you to be careful in drawing conclusions.  Many of the facilities with high emissions or hazard scores are very large and they operate in industries where emissions are hard to avoid.  They may be bringing you your electric power or the aluminum for your soft drink can.

For more data on emissions among the different levels, click here.

Operations Data

We asked managers from each facility to answer a survey about how they try to control their toxic emissions and then use the map to tell their story.  If you click on the “operations” tab, you will find what they reported.  When you are just browsing an area, you can tell those facilities that have reported information by the existence of a green ring. 

When you see such a ring, some data will be reported in the operations tab for that facility.  Check out what they are doing and compare it to others.  It may also be informative just to see who is reporting!

Emissions Details and Comparison Data

You may also want to check out the emissions data and the comparison graphs.  These tabs reveal information about the main chemicals the facility releases to the air.  We chose to use air emissions because those are the bulk of the US Emissions.  We plan to include other types of emissions in the next revision.

The comparison tab allows you to see how the facility compares to others in its region and industry. 

This trend graph allows comparison of changes in emissions over time.  In this industry, both the focal facility and the industry on average are improving. 
To form this graph, we calculate the highest emitted for that industry and then divide this number by six.  We identify all of the firms in each of the 6  levels.  This histogram shows how many are in each level.  This facility is in the highest level which is labels >83%.  That is, it is in a group of facilities which number a bit less than 124 who emit between 83 and 100% of the emissions released by the larges emitter in the industry.



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