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Tracking Trash Using Map Data

HERE Mapping Resources map dataThe smart city technology is growing in popularity. It promises to make the lives of people simpler, easier and technologically advanced, however, this is just a small part of the puzzle called smart city technology.

There are various initiatives in this technology that will help to improve the environment and other related issues. One example is the Trash Track project that has been started by the Senseable City Lab. This project aims to use the internet of things (IoT) when everything is trackable as well as addressable. As is suggested by the name, it would also transform the way rubbish is thrown and recycled.

In the initial testing stage of the project, the company added tags to trash cans and then located them through map data as they traveled through the sanitation system of the city. The idea is based on the concept of ‘smart dust’ according to which technology would become so small and diffused that it could be pulverized.

The map data collected through this trash tracking throws light on where the waste goes after it’s dumped. The company referred to this study as the ‘removal chain’ which is as important as a supply chain. The aim of Trash Track is to make this chain more transparent. The project is seeking to promote behavioral changes in the people and encourage them towards more sustainable consumption. People will also come to know how the waste that they throw away affects the world around them.

The Trash Track project uses map data to tell people how long the trash that they throw away remains in the environment and how it damages it. It addresses the problem thinking of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ which commonly prevails among people. It means that most people believe that once recycled, the things stop emitting carbon footprints. This project debilitated this common perception and helped to display the significance of bottom-up approach in the management of resources as well as promoted behavioral transformations through pervading technologies.

The initial deployment of the project in the Seattle area showed some interesting findings.  The trash traveled incredibly far once it’s thrown away and spread all across the country. These quantitative map data results will be quite helpful in creating effective waste management plans and will also produce changes in the behavior of people towards rubbish.

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