MIT Center for Civic Media | Innovating civic media tools and practices together with communities
extrAct: Landman Report Card (Not Currently in Development)
ExtrAct, a set of Internet-based, databasing, mapping and communications technologies for communities impacted by natural gas development, is a novel platform for community education and civic action.
Its objective is to create and distribute open-source, web-based tools for mapping, analyzing, and intervening in this industry based on supplementing data obtained from state and federal agencies with user generated reports, complaints, and experiences.
All of these tools, though accessible individually, will share information through a unified database. Given that these tools will be serving both urban and rural populations, we are also developing innovative paper and phone interfaces to the web-services. To develop these tools we are working with a network of lawyers, citizen’s alliances, national activist organizations and environmental health experts in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas.
How might communities use it?
By geographically displaying the data, ExtrAct tools provide a textured sense of how issues related to oil and gas differ among the legal, social, and physical landscapes of various communities. Regional views and rates of complaints might differ significantly, or a company may behave differently depending on the legal, social and physical place. The ExtrAct system will hopefully illustrate those differences and provide the means for geographic communities to generate information about their own particular conditions as well as allow them to connect with, learn from, and act in concert with other geographic communities that share similar issues or engage with similar companies. Through the ExtrAct tools users will be able to contact other users with issues related to theirs as well as experts who may be able to assist them. Likewise experts interested in oil and gas will be able to contact community groups and individuals reporting information potentially useful to them.
The tools’ source-code will be licensed with a Creative Commons or an alternative free and open source software license to encourage continued adaptation and optimization of the tools themselves. Eventually we aim that the tools will be adopted, served and adapted by the community groups that use them rather than require any long-term support from MIT. We have code repository that is currently accessible upon request.