Friday, May 7, 2010
Crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion continues to leak into the Gulf Coast. Official estimates state a rate of 200,000 gallons a day, while some private estimates think it could be over a million gallons each day. The spill covers an area of over 2,500 square miles, and shows no signs of slowing down.
2,500 square miles is a large number, but how big is that, really? It's very difficult for us to imagine something that large, and it's doubly hard to grasp the true size when it sits over the vast ocean surface.
To help understand the scale of this ecological disaster, I built a page using the Google Earth Browser Plug-in that will let you see the oil spill in comparison to something everyone has a good grasp on: the size of your own home town. Also, you can compare the oil spill to some very large cities around the world -- is it bigger than San Francisco, New York, London? You'll be surprised at what 2,500 square miles really means.
And it's still growing.
See it here: http://paulrademacher.com/oilspill. If you’re interested in learning more from Google or our data providers, you may want to check out these following sites:
- The State of Louisiana and NOAA-NESDIS provide oil spill data. My teammate Pete Giencke and other volunteers from Google have worked to make this data also available on our site and in Google Earth.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Google’s response website: http://google.com/crisisresponse/oilspill/