If you’ve ever wondered what good can possibly come from Google’s curious neighborhood-prowling, photo-mapping Street View Trakker vehicles, you’re not alone. But a new use for camera-equipping vehicles with this technology is emerging, and it’s meant for environmental good. With the help of Google, Torqueedo electric power, solar panels, and a specially designed multihull boat, the Baykeeper project is hard at work photographing some 500 miles of coastline around the San Francisco Bay area. It will use these water-level photo montages to illustrate the effects of global sea level rise and its impact on areas that will be critically impacted by significant changes in sea level.
None of this would ring true if the project relied on non-green data collection methods, so the “Google Boat,” which is a deceptively simple remote-controlled catamaran designed by Marine Advanced Research, provides premium stability for maximum quality photos. Powered by a Torqueedo Cruise 4kW electric outboard motor, the power plant is rigged with Power 26-104 lithium batteries allowing the getup to operate for hours with a relatively small carbon footprint.
“A lot of people know about sea level rise,” says Sejal Choksi, an environmental lawyer and Baykeeper’s interim director. “We are hoping these images will really bring the reality home to the public, that they will look at pictures of places they know and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be underwater.’”
Similar work completed in American Samoa can bee seen online at: bit.ly/1HM3AmS