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Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has two new Google Maps Mashups that Canucks can use to keep track of environmental initiatives across the Provinces and to review information about mercury in canned tuna in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto:

Canada’s Green Cities – Armed with a $550-million Green Municipal Fund courtesy of the federal government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been doling out grants over the past seven years for pilot projects and capital spending designed to reduce energy use. Here are some of the more innovative initiatives.

Mercury Levels in Canned Tuna – CBC tested mercury levels in canned tuna purchased in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto and found 13 per cent exceeded the federal government’s guideline of 0.5 parts per million.

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Kyle Van Houten Shrimp Trawl Image
Satellite image of shrimp trawlers in China – Kyle Van Houtan

Yesterday, the Science section of the New York Times featured an article on the visible impact of shrimp trawling wordwide: Satellites Show Harvest of Mud That Trawlers Leave Behind. This is an interesting use of Google Earth for research and presentation purposes. Although I think Google Earth has a long way to go before it will be adopted by “the masses” it is simple enough to install and use that it is a viable way to get information across to those who are motivated enough to seek it out.

The gist of this research project is that when shrimp trawlers drag their gear along the bottom of the ocean, not only do they damage the ocean floor and kill many non-target species (aka bycatch or discards and can constitute as much as 98% of the total catch), they stir up so much mud that they actually affect water quality in a large area – large enough to be visible from space. Of course, image resolution is so fabulous now that almost everything is visible from space. But the point is that the previously unseen impact of one type of fishing is now clearly visible to anyone who chooses to look, from the comfort of their own computer.

If you want to take the “tour”, Kyle Van Houtan and Daniel Pauly have posted a web site with trawler mudtrail images in Google Earth with full instructions and more information about their project.

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As a follow-on to my post yesterday on the topic of bird nest webcams — today I found a post in the Google Earth Community with a link to a map file of peregrine falcon and osprey nest cams.  If you are familiar with Google Earth and have it installed on your computer, you can download the KML file and browse the nests that way.  If not, you can link to the maps in Google Maps and have almost the same experience.  Enjoy!

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Turtle Race

Leatherback Sea Turtles: They’re Going Faster Than You Think

I found a link to a great site about Leatherback Sea Turtles in Science Magazine this week The site, The Great Turtle Race sponsored by Leatherback Trust, is actually quite fun for adults and kids alike. According to Science:

Close to 95% of leatherback turtles in the Pacific have disappeared in the past 2 decades. The Costa Rica population has decreased to fewer than 100.

To raise support for the critically endangered beasts, several conservation organizations have created The Great Turtle Race. From 16 through 29 April, 11 turtles will be tracked as they migrate from their nesting areas in Costa Rica to south of the Galápagos Islands off Ecuador. The racers are equipped with satellite tags so their locations can be tracked online. The data will provide a nearly real-time, turtle’s-eye perspective on the ocean, including measurements of water temperature and depth.

Definitely take the time to check out the site, follow the progress of the turtles, learn a few facts about turtles and how scientists are studying their movements, and cheer on your favorite tortuga.

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The ubiquitous satellite imagery now available from Google provides a powerful tool for perceiving change on the earth’s surface. UNEP launched its Atlas of Our Changing Environment last year which

depicts and describes humanity’s past and present impact on the environment. The primary focus is on environmental status and trends over the last 30 years, in terms of both physical and human geography.

Some of the imagery there is stunning and heartbreaking. Here are a couple of examples:

Someone from my watershed group sent out a link to this site with 1949 aerial photos of Atlanta and I located the site where our house was built a year later:

1949 Aerial

I also did a Google Earth clip of approximately the same area from a more recent aerial photo:

Recent Aerial (Google Earth)

Pretty significant change in development, eh? But not surprising for the metro Atlanta area.

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NPR has a two-part series this week on the comeback of Bald Eagles in the Chesapeake Bay area.

The first part includes a lengthy interview with a biology professor from my alma mater, William and Mary (in the Center for Conservation Biology, which did not exist while I was there). Even better, there is this animated map showing nesting locations from 1970 to 2000 (go to the site to see the animation).

 

 

 

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The second part focuses on the competition for Bayfront property between private land owners and the eagles. Eighty percent of the eagle breeding areas are on private land, so their fate is in the hands of individuals

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