Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Years: 2008-Present
Founder: Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Media Lab of MIT
Users: 1003

SourceMap serves as an open source platform where users can create a known supply chain, adding information as to where a product’s natural resources originate, where products travel for assembly and distribution, and calculate a reliable estimate of the C02 released for each step. The project currently has a small user base that currently limits the amount of data input, but it is similar to a Wikipedia model of information collection but does not allow anonymous posts. It is based on the MIT Open Source Initiative computer codes and poses the most potential for the collection and presentation of large amounts of data, which should make estimates for carbon footprints of products more accurate. For example using commonly accepted standards for C02 emissions in its Parts and Transport Catalogues, the project calculates the total emissions from the distance and type of transportation. Supply chains are essentially closed minus the ubiquitous “Made in _____” Smaller companies are using SouceMap to show how they are locally-sourced or carbon-friendly in comparison to others. In addition to Product Maps users can input Travel Maps and Food Maps which work on the same principles but are differentiated by color and use more industry specific values for calculating carbon emissions. The project has various forms of export that include embedding into other websites, printed product labels, and even QR codes readable by camera phone meaning additionally information about the product could be researched quickly while shopping. The project also hopes to create a more reliable predictor of Life Cycle Assessments to quantify impacts that are often not considered because they are externalities.

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