Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

The purpose of New England Grown is local, personal, and low-tech: it’s a website that directs New England residents to places where they can buy locally grown produce. Low-tech though its purpose may be, it leverages the high technology of Web 2.0’s social-media phenomenon, particularly that of a platform known as Platial, the “people’s atlas.”

People can use Platial to build and annotate maps for purposes ranging from displaying the best coffee shops in town to cataloging the locations of tragic events. CEO Di-Ann Eisnor says that users build “map-umentaries” that tell narrative stories about the places that matter to them.

Kathleen Weldon, editor of New England Grown, appeared with Eisnor today at the Emerging Technologies Conference. Weldon, who proclaimed herself the most low-tech person in the room, says that she was attracted to the platform because of its visual nature. The platform is also good for local farmers, she says, who can ride the coattails of her efforts by posting bits of information about their farms through her maps with a minimum of effort, instead of having to build their own websites. “Many of them are farmers because they don’t like sitting in front of a computer,” Weldon says. This platform is especially needed, she says, because out of more than 6,000 farms in New England, only a small fraction have a presence on the Web. Weldon is working to add functions that would help people identify seasonal crops through maps that change over time.

Eisnor discussed several other examples of how people can leverage her company’s platform to transmit personal information of local interest to people who want it. Among the projects she mentioned were a map made by a Palo Alto teacher that catalogs historic sites in Palo Alto, and a map by University of California, Berkeley, professor Dan Gillmor that tracks the progress of restoration in New Orleans.


0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Web, social networks, social media, Web 2.0

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me