Our favourite maps no.5: Smartmine Whale Tracker

Philip Barker
Kettering 52° 23' 55.752" N, -0° 43' 32.988" E

Over the past couple of months we've been bringing you some of our favourite maps from around the world - and this week we've been whale watching! It may not sound like the sort of thing you'd do from the comfort of your armchair, but the fabulous Smartmine Whale Tracker site lets you exactly what the name suggests, keeping tabs on whales off the coast of Hawaii.

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In order to do that, the Smartmine Whale Tracker is fully interactive, offering near real time information on how different whales are moving around the ocean, how they’re interacting with each other, and how they’re swimming alongside the currents.

The map itself was put together by a technology team at GeoEngineers, also working with earth science experts at SmartMine. The result is truly brilliant, tracking beaked, false killer, pigmy killer and sperm whales as they migrate around Hawaii.

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Watching the whales move around is completely mesmeric, with the mapping software leaving the routes they’ve taken overlaid onscreen – also making it easy to see where they’ve already been.

Add in circling currents, and it’s also a bit easier to see why some of the whales move in the way they do. It’s just a shame the maps don’t let you keep tabs on individual whales – it’d be nice to name and keep an eye on your own favourite whale in the wild!

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Putting these maps together hasn’t just been the work of a moment though, and it’s easy to see how much effort the team have put in to keep things ticking over smoothly. With so much detail required, the Smartmine Whale Tracker gets its whale data from Dr. Robiin Baird of Cascadia Research, with surface and wind current data provided by NOAA OSCAR.

All this adds up to a map that’s truly unique, and definitely worth adding to your favourites list. Check out the Smartmine Whale Tracker here, and let us know if it makes your top 10 list!

image credit: Nestor Galina

Topics: Features, Fun Maps

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