Sourcemap

Simply put: We believe that people have the right to know where things come from and what they are made of.

Sourcemap is a platform for researching, optimizing and sharing the supply chains behind a number of everyday products

When you invite people to an event, buy the ingredients for a recipe, or design the parts of a product, your choices have a significant impact.

Some things have vast supply chains that stretch across the world while others are completely regional. Understanding the reach of our sourcing is fundamental to improving economic, social and environmental conditions.

Sourcemap is a tool for producers, business owners and consumers to understand the impact of supply chains. Our site is a social network where anyone can contribute to a shared understanding of the story behind products. You can simulate the impact of manufacturing, transporting, using and throwing away products using our Life-Cycle Assessment calculator. This web-based tool uses linked data from geological and geographic resources. Each 'Sourcemap' can be used to help market socially- and environmentally- conscious products and to buy carbon offsets. Supply chains published on the site can be embedded in external websites, printed onto product packaging or linked through QR codes readable by camera phones. As the site grows, suppliers will be able to contribute their products to the Sourcemap database, providing a geographic catalogue of materials and products around the world.

How To Use Sourcemap

Sourcemap is organized around 'objects' made up of 'parts.' By adding up the impact and location of all the parts, we can estimate the carbon footprint of each phase of the life cycle of an object.

As a visitor, you can see the map and estimated impact of the objects on Sourcemap.org. As a member, you can comment, add your own parts and export the parts to external websites.

Once you've registered, click 'Add new object' in the side- navigation bar to begin the object creation process. You can build an object from parts in our databased by selecting 'Add a part' or contribute your own components by clicking 'Add a custom part.'

Each part is described in terms of its name, its origin, its weight and the means of shipping. If you specify a part from our database, you can also define the way it's manufactured and disposed of. These values allow us to create an estimate of the carbon footprint of each phase of the object's life cycle: embodied, manufacturing, shipping, use and end-of-life. You'll see these values in the 'Object Receipt' on the right of the map. You can also add information about each part or the entire object as you would with a blog: photos, videos and text. At the same time, a map will be generated that illustrates the spread of the supply chain and its complexity. You can pan and zoom the map, or click on specific locations to find out more.

You can export all of this in several ways: as a 'Sourcemap,' as a summary, as a printable QR code or as a printable map. You can also save your work in case our website is too flaky. When you click 'Embed a Sourcemap,' you will see a pop-up window containing code that can be pasted into an external website. The Sourcemap embed includes a map, while the Summary only shows the parts. The QR code can be read by mobile phones; it links them to this Sourcemap entry.

We are continually improving the site as more people use it. Please leave your comments and suggestions in the 'Discussions' section of the site, or email us at sourcemap [at] media.mit.edu

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