Home Mapping the Oil Spill in Real Time

Mapping the Oil Spill in Real Time

In the wake of the BP oil disaster, real-time mapping technologies have been recruited to improve communication and promote collaboration between people in local communities, as well as federal, state and local responders. Last week NOAA released GeoPlatform.gov to provide near-real-time mapping data to those connected to the crisis.

The site lets you track everything from daily spill positions to the locations of ships responding to the crisis. State and non-governmental organizations are also collecting and mapping real-time information. In some instances the efforts include citizen-generated data from iPhone apps and photos mapped on sites like Flickr.

GeoPlatform.gov, which is designed to be a one-stop access point for location data, uses a Web-based mapping system called ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application). Its list of data layers includes spill trajectories, shoreline conditions, and the current positions of ships registered as responders. NOAA hopes to add things like wildlife impacts, field photos, and agency analysis to the site in the near future.

LA Earth (Louisiana Earth) is a Google Earth Enterprise Server operated by the state of Louisiana that provides daily oil spill trajectories, closures, and many other maps as a Google Earth layer (kml). (Download the Google Earth Client/Plugin to use the date.)

Crisis and Crowd-sourced Mapping

There are several ways that that Gulf locals are mapping and reporting spill related incidents. The Oil Spill Crisis map was created buy the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and students at Tulane University. The map shows hundreds of reports sent through SMS messages, Twitter and the Internet. The map was built using open-source crisis mapping software developed by Ushahidi.

The sensors built into smartphones are collecting a rich stream of spill-related data for mapping. The iPhone app Oil Spill Response (iTunes download) allows you to file mobile reports on wildlife, oiled shorelines and other types of spill-related damage. Oil Reporter was created by Crisis Commons and is available for both iPhones and Android smart-phones. It geotags photos, files reports, and provides information on how to contact authorities or volunteer.

See also:

Beyond the information collected by the government and oil industry, people are documenting their own stories. Communities are forming on photo sharing sites like Flickr where location-tagged images can be visualized using Flickr Map.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.