Google Maps Used To Show Oil Spill

    November 12, 2007

It’s unfortunate that they’re getting so much practice, but people are, in any event, learning to document disasters with Google Maps and Google Earth.  The latest problem to get this treatment is the San Francisco oil spill.

58,000 gallons of oil were released into San Francisco Bay, and only around 12,000 gallons have been contained, according to CNN.  Google comes into the matter with a post on the LatLong blog; James DeBoer writes, “The San Francisco Chronicle’s map provides numerous pictures of the slick and cleanup.  The KCBS map also shows areas affected and roughly how far the oil has travelled.”

Of course, that announcement amounts to a relatively minor role; it’s the users of Google’s software that are doing the heavy lifting.  The search giant is probably proud of this, though, since it means that things are moving forward without money and a PR machine behind them.

Google Maps and Google Earth have now been used to cover fires, floods, and a bridge collapse (in addition to the oil spill).  Various news programs employ the software on what seems like a daily basis, as well.  Google’s not omnipresent quite yet, but it’s definitely getting there.