Image via The Leak In Your Hometown
App developers are always quick to hop on a new trend, especially one as big as the Gulf Oil Disaster. But that also means a plethora of tools and apps for all of us, from the serious news to snarky political elbowing. For staying up on the latest updates, becoming a citizen reporter, or simply grasping the impact of the spill, here are 14 apps that connect you to one of the greatest ecological disasters the US has ever experienced.
The Slick Calculator And Reporter was among the first serious science apps we saw rolling out. Not intended as a game for your cell phone, but as a tool for estimating the amount of oil in the gulf, the tool by NOAA uses the Bonn Agreement Code -- an internationally recognized system -- to generate calculations of the volume of oil in the water. And what's more, there's a second software program that let's you click around to see what might happen should a well keep gushing.
Map The Spill is a tool for citizens hoping to help track the damage and clean-up efforts on beaches. It is available for the Android, Blackberry and iPhone. Users can upload photos, videos and reports, as well as download all the freely available information. It's extraordinarily helpful to organizations and groups working hard to help clean up the disaster in the gulf. It even works as a data collection device in areas without cell coverage.
Called MoGO - short for Mobile Gulf Observatory - users can take photos of oiled or dead wildlife, tar balls and oil slicks and upload them into the database which pinpoints their location for rescue workers. The free app gives untrained citizens a way to significantly help in the rescue effort, and gives trained volunteers and scientists much needed help in keeping track of impacted wildlife.
Discovery News writes, "MoGo, which stands for Mobile Gulf Observatory, will empower locals who otherwise feel helpless, to contribute to the relief effort and also help rescue networks better manage their take forces. The information will also be send to MoGo's database for later review by wildlife experts."
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade has taken matters into their own hands since day one, using all sorts of aerial vehicles from kites to balloons to capture images of the damage from the oil spill. The team is doing all they can to ensure citizens can help in the efforts of tracking and cleaning up the oil disaster. That includes creating the Oil Spill Tracker app, which allows anyone to view and report sightings of oil, harmed animals, and other health concerns. It is available for Android phones, though anyone with a cell phone can send a text message, call in, or email a report.
Instant Oil Spill is a quick little app that allows you to type in the name of any website and watch as crude oil bubbles up to fill the screen. It then gives an inspirational quote and links to voluntneer and donating opportunities. After we noted how the Instant Oil Spill app could be more activist rather than time-suck, the creators made some changes to direct people toward action after their screen fills with crude.
The Leak In Your Hometown uses augmented reality to overlay the BP oil leak over anything you direct your iPhone at. Any time you spot a BP logo, you can launch the app to see a broken BP pipe coming out of the logo and spewing oil all over your hometown. The app uses the BP's corporate logo as a marker to orient the graphics, which essentially turns their own logo against them -- an important part of the statement the app makes, according to the developers. It's a trivial use, but maybe not if it reminds people of what could happen every time they consume oil and products made from oil, continuing our dependence on drilling.
Sometimes all you need is some humor or snark to get you through a day of worry and frustration about the state of the environment. While BP still fumbles away at plugging the leak in the Gulf, the cartoonists of the nation are hard at work making a joke out of it all. Cagle Cartoons is helping to take some of the hurt away by offering new cartoons on your iPhone or iPad, with updates pushed through as soon as the artist finishes the cartoon.