JCL Blog

Crashing into Garbage in the North Pacific

Chris Jordan and his team have reached their initial fund raising goal for the Midway Film project.  The total raised is now over $105,000 and continues to climb.  The Midway Film project has gone from 0 to over 1,500 contributors in less than a month because this story about plastic in the ocean resonates with people from all over the world.

Here is the link to the latest update from Chris and his team -- presently on Midway Island.

Here is a link to the Midway Film trailer.

Also ongoing right now is the bi-annual Victoria to Maui sailboat race.  You can track the progress of the boats, that left Victoria BC, Canada on July 3 and are now over half way to Maui on the official web site here.  It is interesting to note that the sailors are on the look out for floating garbage from the Japanese Tsunami last year -- just now reaching the coast of North America.  

Here is a link to an intersting tracking site on USA Today.

Here is a link to the story about the sailors and avoiding the garbage.


Vic Maui on Google Maps (How to put Lat Lon data onto Maps)

This year I have some friends racing their sailboat to Hawaii.  The nine boat fleet left Victoria over the weekend and they should be there within two weeks.  This kind of thing is more fun than ever to track with the new web enabled tools available.  The race committee is posting the lat and lon and standings each day on the official web site.  The numbers are fun to look at, but not as revealing as a map.  

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to figure out how to put this information onto a map.  It took me an hour or so to figure out, and I think I can update it daily in about 10 minutes.  Here are the steps:

  1. Use the web import tool in Excel to scrape the data off of the web site.   (Exel 2010, Data Tab, From Web...follow instructions -- very easy)
  2. Build some formulas in Excel to format the data to be read by EarthPoint.  (combine the data imported, label columns -- also very easy)
  3. Use EarthPoint to import the spreadsheet and create a KML file that can be read by Maps or Earth.  (just follow the instructions -- also very easy.  Hardest part is deciding on the types of Icons.)
  4. Create a MyMap in Google Maps.  (Go to maps.google.com, My Maps, Create New Map, Edit, Import, follow instructions).  I did this step a few times until I got the thing to look like I wanted.  
  5. Get Link to embed or email around.  (just click on the Link button on the top right corner).

Here are the results embedded: 

View 2010 Vic Maui in a larger map