Fossil Fuels

Published on May 9th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

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Mapping the Scale of the Oil Gushing From the Gulf Coast Ocean Floor

May 9th, 2010 by  

It is difficult to imagine the sheer size of the oil slick surfacing from the (so far) uncontainable oil well blowout on the ocean floor in the Gulf.  Paul Rademacher, Google Map’s Engineering Manager has come up with a mapping tool that enables you to put this disaster in perspective; by bringing it home to your own neighborhood.

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His google map will show you how much space the slick would it cover if it was over an area that you are familiar with. You can pick any region or zip code and it will display how large an area it covered superimposed over the region you choose. I chose my own zip code and got this result.

This map shows the size and shape of the slick as of May 6th.

The figures come from the National Ocean And Atmospheric Administration which has monitored the leak since day one, and mobilized experts from across the agency to help contain the spreading oil spill and protect the Gulf of Mexico’s marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, shellfish and other endangered marine life.

The NOAA is also providing daily map updates to visually track the movement of the spill its current size and shape, and showing where it might be heading. I assume that updated Google Earth overlays will be available next week.

They also offer scientific expertize in environmental trade-offs of countermeasures and cleanup methods, field observations, trajectory analysis, chemical hazards, resources at risk and predicting what might happen as the oil breaks up.


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • The entire situation is extremely disastrous for the environment and for the economy in many incomparable methods. This problem would have been retricted but these hazards occur. BP should be held accountable for this new problem.

  • Came here via Google looking for answers on putting maps on my page and just wanted to say thanks for your help!

  • Alex

    I don’t even want to check my zip code it will just make me more depressed 🙁

  • When you hear about thousands of gallons, somewhere offshore, and under water, it’s difficult to visualize the extent of the problem, but this representation brings it all home, in graphic detail, and literally takes your breath away when you see the impact.

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