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Nov 13

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Dopplr Offsetr: Calculating Your Network's Travel Impact

dopplr offsetr
Recently usable-ish Offsetr does a depressingly effective job of calculating the carbon and mileage totals of your Dopplr travel network (Radar post). The larger your network and the more they travel the more impact they will have. Offsetr will tally and rank your network's miles, carbon and offset price.

There are 164 travelers in my network and it has the dubious distinction of having the second-largest impact on the public score boards (that is sure to change with this post). My own impact is less than one percent of that and ranks significantly lower.

Offsetr comes from Will Carter. He's the creator of MobZombies, the game where you run with an accelerometer to get away from virtual zombies (Radar post). Offsetr's mileage data comes from the Dopplr API (which uses OAuth for easy access to users' data). The carbon offset calculations (both the dollars and the pounds) come from terrapass, a carbon offset company.

I travel a lot for work. I've been using the RealCosts Firefox plugin so I can be aware of the impact of my plane tickets, but that doesn't compare to seeing the cumulative effect of my travel. This is more meaningful. I would love to have Offsetr as a Greasemonkey script for Dopplr (or better yet as its own feature) for a constant reminder. How carbon friendly is your network?

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Mike Pearson   [11.14.07 05:06 AM]

Could it be expanded to compare emissions via different modes of transport, I wonder?

I think to make it really valuable it would be great if it could show travel options (car, plane, train, bike, etc) so that you can work towards minimising the absolute CO2 output you're making.

Offsets still seem pretty contentious, but making people consider the impact of travel can only be a good thing.

david   [11.14.07 05:22 AM]

Mike's point is a good one -- Offsetr probably assumes the worst case (flying back and forth across the Atlantic in a large jet). Most other forms of transportation have much lower carbon footprints, such as the trains commonly used in Europe and the eastern U.S., or even flying via turboprop (which has a 1/3 smaller energy use per passenger mile than jets, and also doesn't release pollutants near the stratosphere due to lower cruising altitudes).

Eric Meyer   [11.14.07 05:30 AM]

I'm #10 on the public board! Wooo!

Oh, wait.

antoine   [11.14.07 08:28 AM]

It's another great initiative if we want to get more conscious of the damage we're causing to the environment in our everyday life, still can we really avoid travelling for work ? Do we really want to avoid taking the plane when we're going on vacation ?

Lauren Cooney   [11.14.07 11:56 AM]

Yeah, I'm 15th on the list when I looked. I guess this is one where one competes for the lowest ranking on the list? Ouch.

Gave you props on my blog. I think it's good for folks to be aware of the impact they have on the environment, whether it assumes worst-case scenario or not. /LC

Lauren Cooney
CTO Office, Information Management Group

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