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Wow…Google gets wet – and relevance to Louisiana

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Graphic from Google Earth

Graphic from Google Earth

I double dare you to read this article by Andrew Revkin in the NY Times and not get excited.  As a sixty something (member of the C? generation) I’m doing my best to keep up with the geographic technology explosion.  For example, I’m blown away by Google Maps Street View, which allows me to tour the parts of New Orleans flooded by Katrina without burning any gasoline.

Now Google is sticking its toes into the water that affects the 3.3 billion people who now live within an hour’s drive to a coast.  The arbitrary narrow strip that defines Louisiana’s official coastal zone naively restricts the thinking of many coastal planners because it leaves out much of the roughly 1/3rd of our state that used to flood during springtime, as noted by Percy Viosca in the 1920′s.

To those who agree with me and the late great Mr. Viosca, this phenomenal new wrinkle by Google should be particularly exciting.  I predict that Google will soon demonstrate to even casual viewers that the southern third of our state (the deltaic zone) is actually neither land nor water.  Our efforts to sustain this “tidal” region should be informed by this recognition.

Still not inclined to click on the link to the article?  Read this quote from the text:

By hovering over Galveston, Tex., clicking on a pointer and sliding it forward along a bar reflecting years of data, I was able to watch seaside communities expand and then abruptly wash away after Hurricane Ike.

Now, if you’re still with me check out this video of the change over time of the Aral Sea.  Is this 2 minute description not a perfect bookend for our situation in Louisiana?  Their sea is shrinking and ours is growing.

Len Bahr

Disclaimer: I don’t own any Google stock!

Flash: The New Orleans Times Picayune published an editorial on Friday February 6 on the relevance of this new Google dimension to anyone interested in Louisiana’s coastal changes.

 

The new Google Earth can allow users to better understand Louisiana's coastal erosion.  Times Picayune Photo by Brett Duke

The new Google Earth can allow users to better understand Louisiana's coastal erosion. Times Picayune Photo by Brett Duke

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