Going Adrift

This particular application resonated with me.  We enjoy walks along the beach and will take a few moments to help out by picking up some of the garbage that washes ashore.  It’s difficult to fathom just why people throw junk away rather than the few seconds that it takes to put things in a proper garbage can.

Plastic and other marine litter is horrible for marine life.  There’s just no doubting this.

Adrift is a web resource that tries to illustrate the extent that plastic does it damage.  The site is a mashup of Google Maps and data collected from drifting buoys.  Click the “How do we know?” link to get the details about how the data has been collected.

Using the site is pretty simple.  On the map, click a body of water and watch what happens.  The site uses a plastic duck as the source and you can watch its potential path over 10 years floating on the water.  In my case, I clicked on an area in the Gulf of Mexico and this is what happened.

The results were pretty much what I expected based upon my knowledge of the Gulf Stream.  By dropping your duck around the globe, it’s interesting to see the flow over time.  What an interesting starting point for discussion about oceans, pollution, effects on the planet, where hurricanes and monsoons come from, etc.

My only regret was that there isn’t a zoom feature to drop into the Great Lakes.   Around here, that would really drive home the message.

If you’re into maps and mapping, I think you’ll find this a fascinating resource.

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