Nickel from Australia, epoxy resin from Shanghai, silicon from São Paulo, beryllium from California, and gallium from Guinea are just a few of the components in a typical laptop. If you’ve ever wondered where everyday things such as laptops or iPods come from and the societal impact of modern manufacturing, then Sourcemap, developed in part by the MIT Media Lab, may be the open-source tool for you.
Still in beta phase, Sourcemap is described as being “for producers, business owners, and consumers to understand the impact of supply chains.” Anyone can register with the site and contribute to the shared origin of products. The goal is to enhance awareness and thus improve economic, social, and environmental conditions—each map, for example, could be used to target socially and environmentally conscious products.
How does it work? Sourcemap breaks objects into parts then estimates the carbon footprint of each part based on its location, weight, manufacturing process, and shipping method. A map then plots the reach and complexity of the supply chain.
View the video below to see it in action, then check out some of the Sourcemaps or register to comment, add parts, and export data to external Web sites.