Google Earth: Mapping Whales, Tracking Turtles


Humpback Whale

Last year, the Institute at the Golden Gate partnered with Google Earth Outreach to host a training workshop for environmental leaders on how to use Google mapping technology to amplify environmental and collaborative impact.

Over the past year, the Institute at the Golden Gate continued to support this network of environmentalists and tracked their diverse projects to see how they’ve used their training skills for a wide range of applications. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association maps years of whale sighting data collected from a commercial operator and compares it with a NOAA chart of the same area in Google Earth.

  •  Marin County Open Space District creates visualizations of vegetation management areas and a map for the Tiburon Salmon Institute in an outreach effort targeted to California teachers.

  • The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance hosts a sea turtle tracking map to help understand migration routes and to educate middle school and high school students through an interactive “Great Migration Game” tracking Jklynn, a female Hawksbill sea turtle.

  • Last week, one Google Earth trainer advocated for funding the Department of Interior's National Trail System at the annual "Hike the Hill" effort in Washington D.C. Soon, this collaborative map of all Partnership for the National Trail System member websites will be used to leverage existing content to promote and manage trails and enhance the public's use of this national trail system.

Since last year’s workshop was such a success, the Institute at the Golden Gate will host a second workshop in partnership with Google Earth Outreach.  Mapping Environmental Scenarios & Solutions with Google Technology will take place on March 19-20 at Cavallo Point–the Lodge at the Golden Gate.

Have you used Google mapping technology to create compelling visualizations of your environmental work? Share your story with us by e-mailing

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