Cool Earth Action e-commerce CMS
Cool Earth Action e-commerce content management website
- Cool Earth Action. A Registered Charity committed to saving endangered tropical rainforests and keeping carbon where it belongs
- PHP, MySQL, CSS, XHTML, Google Maps, AJAX
- Go Live date
- June 2007
altcom was approached by the charity Cool Earth Action in April 2007 and asked to design and build a website that would allow the charity to sell "sponsored acres" of endangered rainforest to the public. Cool Earth had acquired leases on large, strategically placed areas of rainforest in the Amazon and elsewhere with the objective of protecting it from destruction by loggers and soya farmers.and blocking access to much larger areas of rainforest. altcom's solution was to use the Google Maps API integrated with an eCommerce shopping cart to enable the public to purchase half acre blocks and see them on Google Maps, along with the latitude and longitude of the block.
The resolution of the satellite imaging on Google Earth (for most areas) allows the canopy to be clearly visible; in some cases even individual branches. A tinted overlay shows the extent of each block.
A substantial administrative interface to Google Maps was created to allow polygon overlays to be set up for the forest areas under Cool Earth control. These needed to be subdivided into half acre blocks that could be made available for sponsorship. whilst enabling the administrator to remove blocks that were in rivers, lakes and clearings. The next step was to integrate the Google Map blocks and associated latitude/longtitude data with a customised e-commerce shopping cart package. Users can add multiples of 1/2 an to their cart, checkout and then see them on a Google Map and receive a PDF certificateor printed certificate. They can also Gift certificates to friends and family.
The work was started in May 2007 and the site went live on 4th June in a wave of national and international publicity.
The Cool Earth founders include the veteran Labour MP Frank Field and Johan Eliasch, the Chairman and CEO of Head, the sports goods multinational.
Since its launch altcom has extended the system and a gift facility is being launched in November 2007 along with a sponsor support facility. In 2008 the Co-operative Bank launched it's think credit card which provides each holder with sponsored half acre and donates money to Cool Earth with every purchase.
The complexity of the project was such that the time-scale from inception to delivery seemed impossible. There was no detailed specification other than that provided by altcom in response to the general aims and objectives of the project. Since the PR launch had been set before the website was commissioned there was no question of missing the deadline. The altcom team worked around the clock using Very Rapid Prototyping techniques to deliver a basic system quickly for client evaluation. The Google Map elements were handled by a dedicated sub-team and the interface with the CMS was handled by another sub-team. It was a close run thing but the site was live on time and its modular structure has allowed it to be extended gradually since launch.
Despite their initial caution about the timescales, the team at altcom wholly committed themselves to the project and delivered on time and on budget. Their creative input was invaluable and they really engaged with the project. Their support since the launch has been robust and since I have a very demanding schedule it is great knowing that I can leave them to get on with it and make sensible decisions
Cool Earth Director
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