BEIJING — When users in China open the Amap navigation app, they can now not only make use of its mapping service, but also view environmental information and choose to go to the most environmentally-friendly destinations.
Amap, one of the major mapping and navigation platforms in China, launched an environmental mapping service on its app on June 5, providing users with real-time environmental information, including air and water quality indexes and factory sewage records.
The service is co-sponsored by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and Alibaba Charity Foundation.
“The new service aims to encourage people to be more aware of environmental issues and take part in environmental protection to build a Beautiful China,” said Sun Lijun, vice-president of Alibaba group, China’s e-commerce giant.
Traditionally, mapping services were used to recommend the best route to a destination. “The new service coordinates conditions in the sky and on the ground, and is able to automatically divert users around congested or flooded roads by linking to the weather forecast,” said Liu Zhenfei, president of Amap.
Users can access the service by selecting “environment map” in the app. If users choose public transport, walking or cycling as their mode of transportation, the app will automatically record the distance of these low-carbon trips.
Liu said, the app will also encourage users to travel in a low-carbon way by offering incentives.
It will accumulate points for users who use low-carbon means of travel, and will convert these points to charity programs, such as building bridges in impoverished mountainous areas to make contributions to China’s poverty alleviation programs, according to Liu.