Companies that sell biofuels in the European Union must receive certifications to show that producing their fuel – often made from agricultural crops – does not cause deforestation, the loss of biodiversity, or the loss of carbon stocks. Not only can it be difficult to ensure an area is environmentally-sustainable, but more and more companies want to know if an area is socially ethical. GRAS was established to provide that data required to support a credible certification and determined that the most effective way to provide this data was to build a web app that overlays data from multiple sources over maps. Auditors can then compare before-and-after maps of a certain area, and based on the changes in the habitat, analyze the information needed to grant or deny certification.
GRAS partnered with IT consultant Wabion, a Google Premier Partner, to build the website. They tested several map solutions, including open source options, but chose Google Maps APIs because of its high performance, ability to easily integrate data from multiple sources, flexible APIs, solid support and large user community. The tool combines mapping information with data from dozens of government agencies, NGOs and other global databases. The GRAS site has gone beyond its original mission, expanding the data it can layer upon maps to include about biodiversity, land-use changes, available carbon stock, as well as numerous measurements of social health, ranging from the Global Slavery Index to the Global Hunger Index, and the UNICEF index of access to drinking water and sanitation.
- Ability to handle 10-terabytes of geodata
- Visualize layers of more than 100 data types — including agriculture, deforestation and social welfare — on top of the map
- Enable users to upload and visualize their own data sets or easily search locations with the Autocomplete feature
Millions of apps and sites use Google Maps APIs to benefit from a powerful mapping platform. Discover which set of APIs Meo Carbon Solutions has used to create their GRAS website:
Google Maps Geocoding API
Verify map locations
Google Places API Web Service
Autocomplete makes it easy for users to select locations they want to visualize
Visualize more than 100 types of data on top of the maps