Google Earth Tracks Gulf Oil Spill; Creates Crisis Response Site

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Google Earth Tracks Gulf Oil Spill; Creates Crisis Response Site

by Clint Boulton

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Deepwater Horizon Explosion

Besides killing and injuring drilling platform workers, the resulting oil spill is causing incalculable damage to marine life and threatens to pollute hundreds of miles of Gulf Coast beaches and wetlands. This shot, taken from Wikimedia Commons, spells out the disaster.

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The Oil Spill Over Time

Google uses satellite imagery in Google Earth to chart the Deepwater spill's progression over a week.

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Google Earth Layer Tracks the Spill

Google Earth users may turn on the Places of Interest layer in the Layers panel on the left-hand side of Google Earth, navigate to the Gulf of Mexico and click on the red icon to see the imagery.

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Crisis Response Center

Google offers this Crisis Response Center to help users gather more information about the catastrophe. Note the current extent of the spill.

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May 3: The Oil Slick Expands

The path of the oil spill on May 3. Note how much more concentrated it is compared to the spill path on May 5, as the oil has spread out.

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May 1: Oil Spill Volume Steadily Grows

The spill's circumference is tighter still on May 1.

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Fishing Shut Down

See where the U.S. Coast Guard shut down fishing, the bread and butter of many Gulf Coast families.

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Points of Interest

A fourth generation shrimper based out of Venice, La. describes how he and his family lost this year's brown shrimp season due to the spill.

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Satellite Imagery

This NASA satellite imagery shows the first day of the spill one day after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank.

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Google Grabs Wikipedia

Google overlays the Wikipedia entry on Deepwater Horizon on its Google Earth imagery of the spill.

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How to Help

Here are the links to more information on the disaster, as well as how to help and send relief. This video shows a flyover of the disaster site. Users may upload their own oil spill disaster videos on YouTube from here, too.