The same technology that allows people to visually locate businesses and peep at naked ladies is now documenting the state of America's waterways.
Jared Criscuolo uses the imaging technology of Google Maps Street View to create a river view of the Sacramento River. The Riverview Project is the first foray of Criscuolo's Below the Surface organization.
The ultimate goal is to “create a permanent photographic record of the current conditions of America's rivers,” according to the project's website.
Eventually, a phone app will allow anyone to feed images into the project and “creatively gather footage of what they see. We want to start crowd sourcing a library of America’s rivers,” Criscuolo told The New York Times environmental blog, Green.
The inspiration for the project came in 2006 when Criscuolo was stricken with a gastrointestinal disease and throat infection after surfing off the coast of San Diego, reported the Times. A recent rainstorm had flushed animal waste, oil and other pollutants into the ocean. That got Criscuolo thinking about just how contaminated America's waterways are, and he decided to try and document the situation.
As luck would have it, the U.S. Geological Survey had the same idea. After an email exchange, the two parties began working together. The USGS put its resources at Criscuolo's disposal.
The project now has the support of the Nature Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation as well as sponsorship from Clif Bars, the Alaskan Brewing Company and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
A view on the Sacramento River (Carlos Almendarez, Flickr)