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Protecting the Pacific - Online Tools Make a Splash with Californians

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February 20, 2009

Californians are diving deep into the Pacific Ocean without ever leaving their computers. New online mapping tools allow people to see underwater, and at the same time track the effects of climate change and human activity. MarineMap.org allows users to view maps of marine areas in and around California waters and then share their ideas for protecting those areas using a new version of Google Earth, called Google Ocean.

Serge Dedina, executive director of Wildcoast in Southern California, is working to protect and preserve coastal ecosystems. He hopes the new tools will inspire others to do the same.

"It’s a great tool for everyone who loves our coast and ocean, and who wants to become an active stakeholder and protector of this great resource we have - that really makes California, California."

This type of technology used to be available only to large research institutions and scientists with big budgets, adds Dedina.

"Using your desktop, you can take pictures, do you own surveys, and incorporate them into Google Ocean. You can use MarineMap to create your own proposed marine protected area. This has revolutionized the work of marine conservationists because it doesn’t cost us that much."

MarineMap was created by UC Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute. Google Earth is one of Google's most popular products and has been downloaded on half a billion computers.

More information is available at www.wildcoast.net.


Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA