Pollution mapping app goes live

The industry-backed Eyesea pollution mapping initiative has gone live following six months of testing onboard commercial ships, recreational boats, and with community volunteers. The Eyesea app is now available on Google Play and in the Apple App stores.

The pollution mapping initiative collects and processes oceanic pollution data, now via the click of a smartphone.

The data is used to build detailed maps and charts available free of charge to governments, clean-up groups, researchers, local authorities and a range of other stakeholders, enabling them to take targeted clean-up action and make evidence-based policy decisions.

Graeme Somerville-Ryan, cofounder of Eyesea, commented: “It’s been quite a voyage over the last six months. Over this time we have received overwhelming support from maritime companies, seafarers, and recreational sailors who see what is going on and who want to help. Our member company fleet continues to grow we are looking at partnerships with yachting and superyacht associations, yacht clubs, tech providers, crew associations, and international clean-up NGOs. The feedback we have received from seafarers and coastal volunteers has been humbling – they all want the same thing and have given us enormous support testing the app.”

Eyesea beta testing has been conducted by volunteers in countries including the US, Chile, The Netherlands, South Africa, Greece, Australia, India, Singapore, the UK, Germany, Turkey, and Hong Kong. Volunteers gave up their time to walk beaches and record and recover pollution as part of the app testing.

“Crowdsourcing maritime pollution data is the democratisation of environmental care initiatives – anyone can do it and each picture collected has value. The app is anonymous, we don’t know if the data is coming in from a bulk carrier, a superyacht, a container ship, a pilot boat, or a yacht,” Somerville-Ryan said, adding: “At the company level, I have never seen cooperation quite like this – in any sector. Everyone understands we need a unified effort to make a difference, the ocean is too wide and the coasts are too long for us to act alone.”

Eyesea’s next step is to push the app out to member company vessels, build seafarer involvement, expand support for the nonprofit, and further develop the technical capabilities of the app. Building up a library of data points over the next 12 months will be critical to not only showing areas of pollution requiring action, but also demonstrating that the maritime industry is a vital part of developing environmental solutions.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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