Lloyd Alter, President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario introduced this tool at the Ontario Heritage Conference.
In his recent newsletter he wrote about the new interactive website:
We need to know what is out there. Nobody knows; until a building gets listed, there is no database that says it is important. It is a catch 22; in Brantford, they can say with a straight face that the buildings are not historic because they have never been listed, but they refused to take the advice of the Heritage Committee and list the buildings. This is happening all over Ontario; We are losing too many buildings not only because nobody is watching, but because nobody knows what to watch, and municipal councils are doing their best to ensure we never do.
We have been working on this since I wrote this for Acorn; I was going to show this in Chatham at the convention this weekend but will drop it here. We are developing an early warning system, a crowd-sourced real time database where people across the province can let everyone know about buildings at risk, under threat, that they think other people should know about. It is based on an open source system developed in Kenya during violence a few years ago and has been used for disasters around the world since; we are applying it to heritage disasters in Ontario. Soon you will be able to point your blackberry or iPhone at a building and add it to the database; in this very early alpha version you need your computer. Try it out at thisplacematters.ca