You’ve probably heard of a little off-shoot website called “Google Maps.” For those who haven’t, Google Maps is a web mapping service application and technology provided by Google—one that powers almost any mapping service you encounter on the web. It offers street maps, a route planner for traveling by foot, car, bike or public transport and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world. In terms of transportation, it seems that Google Maps provides users with everything they need – unless they are traveling by water. That’s where Jared Criscuolo comes in.
The 30-year old San Diego Native and water sports enthusiast became intrigued by the concept of mapping our nation’s water systems in 2006 after encountering pollution problems in the southern California post-rain surf.
What started as intrigue eventually grew into a five year commitment to document the nation’s rivers and water pollution levels from a first person point of view. After contacting the United States Geological Survey in May 2011, he was enlisted to work with them on their attempt to video document 27 rivers in a time frame of five years.
The Riverview Project (as it is now called) will be provide a 360 degree view similar to Google’s Streetview and will be used for tracking paddling, fishing and camping routes. It will also serve as an environmental policy and protection tool due to the project’s plan to have Criscuolo test the pollution levels of all of the areas he encounters.
While Riverview will probably be used most by fisherman and paddlers, the project is attracting the attention of a number of non-profits as well.
The process Criscuolo is using to accomplish this feat involves harnessing the same technology and resources used by Google Maps. Criscuolo and the Riverview team have actually managed to enlist a few people from Google to advise them on how to optimize the company’s mapping tools.
The project also plans to create an interactive app called Streamview that will allow individuals to take part in the mapping process by adding their own content to the project. It will enable them to gather creative footage of what they encounter on their routes and add that footage to the collected data.
While the Geological Survey has provided access to its vast network of tangible resources (i.e. boats, staff, and scientific data), the Riverview Project’s main financial backers include the Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Alaskan Brewing Company, the Surfrider Foundation, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
To learn more about the Riverview project (and to experience the site-in-progress for yourself), you can visit riverviewproject.org.