DorobekINSIDER: Crowdsourcing Gulf Coast oil spill info

Wednesday - 5/5/2010, 2:00am EDT

Government as a platform — in the Gulf Coast oil spill.

NASA photo

We have covered a lot of the cases of people coming together to help in crisis situations — many of them around so-called Crisis Camps, but we’ve also seen Random Hacks of Kindless, and even post-Haiti, there were remarkable efforts of people coming together to use available tools to share vital information.

While NOAA is tracking the spill — and there are even NASA satellites tracking the slick — but the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is banding together to track the slick on their own.

A band of people calling themselves the Louisiana Bucket Brigade that are using those tools to track the massive oil spill — called the Oil Spill Crisis Map.

As the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster drifts toward land, residents of the Gulf Coast can report sightings of fishermen out or work, endangered wildlife, oil on shore, oil sheens, health impacts and other problems using a new tool known as the Oil Spill Crisis Map. The reports, submitted via text message, the web or email will appear on a web based map of the Gulf Coast, alerting officials and the public alike of the extent of the damage.

“The Oil Spill Crisis Map compiles and maps eyewitness accounts of the oil’s effects in real time,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “This is a tool for all of us to understand the extent of the damage.”

Reports can be made and viewed at http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org.

How does it work?

Mobile phone users can text reports to (504) 27 27 OIL
Reports can also be sent to bpspillmap@gmail.com
Twitter with the hashtag: #BPspillmap.

Eyewitness reports for the map require a description, and location information such as address, city and state, zip‐code or coordinates. Citizen reporters can remain anonymous or disclose their contact information. Photos and video can be uploaded via the web.